Broadband minnow spawns rural service

Salmon daze

Wireless outfit FDM Broadband has managed to wire up a Hampshire village with high-speed Net access without too much aggravation from monster telco BT.

At the end of last year FDM kicked up a stink after claiming that BT had failed to repair a dedicated circuit needed to connect one of its wireless communities to the Net.

FDM also claimed that the BT connection had gone West six times in a fortnight, causing aggravation for the company and its customers.

FDM was so frustrated at the way it had been treated it lodged a formal complaint with the regulator.

The company also alleged that the incident in Lambourn, Berkshire, was not isolated and that it had experienced similar problems elsewhere as it tried to bring broadband to rural areas in Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Now, it seems, that the BT-related issues plaguing FDM appear to have gone away following news that residents in Kingsclere, nestled between Basingstoke and Newbury, have a wireless broadband service.

According to a spokesman, Kingsclere is "going just fine" after only being hit by some "minor issues".

Villagers offset the cost of installing the wireless service with a £15,000 grant from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Kingsclere was forced down the wireless route after the village was unable to drum up 500 subscribers (out of a population of 3,500) for BT's ADSL service.

FDM Broadband MD Karl Crossman said: "The big fixed-line providers have been reluctant to expand their infrastructure into many rural areas and have been very ambivalent in their dealings with rural communities like this one.

"If we want to avoid a major digital divide emerging in this country, wireless broadband is going to be essential to bringing broadband to the ten to 20 percent of the population who live in remote rural areas where other infrastructure is unavailable." ®

Related Stories

BT faces fresh complaint over late BB delivery
Broadband minnow takes on BT over 'unacceptable' behaviour

Sponsored: Designing and building an open ITOA architecture