Are you one of the 5% who can't get decent broadband? Then come and talk to us - we have extensive experience in helping people living in remote rural areas get broadband via radio from their neighbours who can get it.
Neary all telephone exchanges have now been fibre enabled, but that won't help all of us who live in more remote areas due to BT's decision to provide the majority of their service via Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) rather than Fibre To The Home (FTTH). This means that BT run fibre to your local cabinet and uses copper from there on. This is fine for cities where the median distance from your cabinet is 550 meters; less so for those of us who are maybe 2 to 3 km from their cabinet. You can find out how you connect here. The speed drops off quite dramatically - see this page for details, but essentially after 2km you will be down from a maximum 80Mbs to 16.5Mbs at 2km and 8.7Mbs at 3km - and those are the maximum theoretical figures.
The good news is that you probably don't live that far away from someone who can now get fast broadband.
What's the point of knowing that my neighbour has fast broadband? How does that help me? Well the answer is a bigger better sort of WiFi. Normal WiFi is in the 2Ghz frequency band (the same one microwave ovens and Bluetooth use) and is limited to 100mW of power to ensure that you aren't blasted out by your neighbour and vice-versa. This standard is called 802.11b with faster versions called 802.11b/g/n. There's another frequency available in the 5Ghz band which is divided into three bands in the UK. Some Apple AirPort devices use this, and it's called 802.11a with again a faster version called 802.11an. In Band A you can only use it indoors and you can use twice the power at 200mW. But Band B lets you use 1000mW as long as the radio is for an outdoor link, and Band C (which needs an Ofcom licence) lets you go up to 4000mW. We have such a licence. Combined with a new encoding technology called 802.11ac this means that it is possible to run 100Mb/s radio links over 2-4 km.
Our aim is to connect the remaining 5% of the population by creating small local networks using radio links to transmit a fast connection based at somewhere that can get fast broadband, bypassing the long coppers (or even aluminium in some cases) cables that fail to provide the high speed links.
The only snag with this is that the radios need line-of-sight connections. Hills - and especially trees - stop the signal. Luckily many of us live in a an area with lots of hills and many people have spectaular views from houses on the top of them. So a very few houses can see the connected neighbour directly. But they can, in turn, pass the signal to other houses from perhaps a different side of their house. And these people in turn can get a signal and pass it on once more. We can also use existing high structures such as churches (with approval) that are visible from a long distance. Contact us and we will help you survey your site.
This is a map showing a project we have done in Shirenewton, Monmouthshire connecting over 50 properties who would otherwise be without fast broadband. It shows who is connected (green) to a fast broadband (blue) and who is waiting for an installation (orange).
If this sounds like somthing you would like to help create in your area, register using our online tool or if you have questions please contact us on 01291 642042 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It's useful to have an idea how you are going to see your neighbours, and there is useful tool where you can enter your postcode, and click once to drop one end of a link, and click twice to drop the other end. Scroll down and you will see a surface elevation map between the two.