Shoppers to support small firms

BUSINESSES in Scunthorpe will be able to compete on a level playing field with most of the rest of the country after a major investment in state-of-the-art broadband technology from one of the UK’s wireless internet pioneers.

Areas of the town that were previously subjected to a very poor connection now have access to wireless internet speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second (mbps), following the five-figure investment from Quickline Communications.

Steve Bolan, operations director for Quickline Communications, said: “Many businesses in Scunthorpe have been at a disadvantage with a poor internet connection, leaving them vulnerable against competitors who have been able to operate online.

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“Scunthorpe businesses now have a great opportunity to build and grow and we expect to see a major impact on the local economy as a result.”

Quickline, which has the largest geographical ‘footprint’ of all the UK wireless broadband providers, has effectively changed the way that businesses and residents can access the internet, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.

“Around the town centre it’s been particularly bad, ranging between 10 and 30mbps. Also, a lot of the industrial areas don’t have great connectivity. A lot depends on the old copper wires and how close you are to the exchange,” said Mr Bolan.

Conventional broadband carries the signal by fibre to a roadside cabinet, and then by copper cables for the “last mile”, whereas Quickline’s system carries it by fibre as far as a mast and then covers the “last mile” wirelessly.

Mr Bolan explained: “Previously, wireless internet services relied upon a clear line of sight from transmitter to a small device located on the roof of a business or home. However, a new partnership with Cambium Networks has developed a new system which no longer relies on this line of sight.”

Nic Dakin, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, said: “I am very pleased to see a possible solution for the many constituents and businesses who have contacted me with problems accessing fast broadband.

“Low speeds have severely limited many existing businesses in our rural areas and, if they are able to access this service, it will be a great boost for them and an incentive for new start-ups.”

Last month, the Northern Lincolnshire Broadband (NLBB) project announced that it was halfway through its programme to make fibre optic broadband available to 31,000 properties in North and North East Lincolnshire. Its £7m programme to extend fibre broadband to reach over 92 per cent of the area builds on BT’s commercial investment of £2.5bn to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises.

Coun Len Foster, deputy Labour group leader, said: “This development will hopefully plug a gap that presently exists, with the Government and the local council concentrating super-fast broadband services to the rural communities while omitting developing facilities in the urban areas.”

Quickline hopes its latest investment will go some way towards “mopping up” the remaining homes and premises that do not yet have superfast broadband, which is defined as 24mbps or quicker.

“This new technology strengthens our position as an independent wireless internet service provider. The benefit to customers is that we can provide an excellent service and keep overheads and costs under control,” said Mr Bolan.