Our Story

The story started in around 2000 when Dr Tim King decided that he was fed up with the speed of his dial-up connection. He didn't want to move from his home in the Monmouthshire hills near Shirenewton, but at that stage the local exchange wasn't going to be upgraded to ADSL.

Drawing on his previous experience running one of the first UK ISPs (UK Online) he and some other villagers clubbed together for a satellite link and passed the signal around by WiFi. This worked well for a few years until the local exchange was upgraded to ADSL.

By 2015 Shirenewton exchange was enabled for fibre to the cabinet, and most of the village were happy. Not, however, Tim as he lived too far from the exchange to get a decent speed.

His local hostelry The Huntsman Hotel could get superfast broadband, and Tim wanted the same. The cabinet by the hotel was just over a mile away. But the way the BT cables ran meant that he was over three miles from his cabinet and the speed available at that distance is less than 6Mbytes/sec.

Digging a cable to the hotel clearly wasn't an option, but Tim knew that modern 5Ghz radios were much better that the old WiFi he had used before. The only snag was that these radios only operate in straight lines with a clear line of sight between them - and Tim can't see the Huntsman from his house. But he can see his neigbours, who also wanted broadband, and they can see another house with a clear view of the hotel.

Rigging a chain of radios between each house got Tim and his neigbours online. Result!

Shirenewton Community Broadband

Tim started to mention what he had done to some of his other neighbours who wanted the same, and the scheme grew rapidly. His colleague Geoff Burge was very keen, but he lived a lot further away. Undeterred, Tim and Geoff installed a total of seven hops to get him online, bringing the signal into even more islolated areas.

There were soon over 60 members of the scheme, and demand was growing

Broadband by Radio

By April 2017 ir was clear that there was strong demand but a more commercial approach was needed to provide proper support and more incoming lines to ensure a resilient service. Tim and Geoff started the company to provide this service, which now supplies over 120 customers.

It's not really feasible to extend our network across the entire country, so the company instead offers a service to other communites wanting to do the same thing.