Wessex Internet Bring Gigabit Broadband to 20 Rural UK Locations

Rural UK ISP Wessex Internet, which is deploying a full fibre (FTTP) gigabit broadband network across isolated parts of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset in England, has today named the 20 locations where their new network has gone live during just the first three months of 2024 (Q1).

At present the provider’s existing network footprint is vaguely said to cover “tens of thousands of homes” (some of this may include their old fixed wireless network too), while their current business plan targets an “additional” 150,000 premises by 2027 through a combination of subsidised and unsubsidised capital investment.

NOTE: Wessex Internet is backed by majority shareholder abrdn and in late 2023 secured £35m of additional funding, including a Senior Debt Facility from Triodos Bank (here). The ISP has also secured four Project Gigabit contracts to connect around 36,000 premises to their FTTP network.

Despite the region where they operate suffering from one of the wettest winters on record for 130 years, network delivery teams have battled the elements to bring services to some incredibly challenging locations. They found mole plough routes across flooded plains, spliced cables al fresco under storm umbrellas, and were careful to keep up their standards when making final installations through village streets and muddy gardens.

Wessex Internet’s 20 New Fibre Locations (Live)

In Dorset
Bishops Caundle
Chaldon Herring
Milton Abbas
Sixpenny Handley

In Somerset
Chilthorne Domer
Marston Magna
Yenston & Whitechurch
West Camel
Yeovil Marsh

In Wiltshire
Donhead St Andrew
East Knoyle
Sedgehill & Semley

In Hampshire

Sadly, the announcement didn’t provide any figures for premises passed, either in terms of those that are ‘Ready for Service’ (RFS) or the built network footprint. But we do expect the following outcome from their new Project Gigabit contracts: North Dorset (Lot 14.01 – £6m to cover 7,100 premises), the New Forest – Hampshire (Lot 27.01 – £14m to cover 10,500 premises), South Wiltshire (Lot 30 – £18.8m to cover 14,500 premises) and Dorset and South Somerset (Lot 14 – £33.5m to cover 21,400 premises).

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO of Wessex Internet, said:

“I would like to give credit to all of our teams who’ve been working hard on the ground during these challenging recent months, to ensure we keep on track with our plans to bring ultrafast broadband to rural and other hard-to-reach communities that are often overlooked by other suppliers.

It is heartening to hear from customers that they don’t just appreciate having access to a service that they never thought would be possible, but also that they recognise and appreciate the considerate way that our teams approach their work. That thanks goes from our civils operatives, splicers, garden teams and home installers building the network, to our customer service and sales teams involved in setting customers up and helping them out if they have problems.

It has been exciting to welcome many new colleagues to Wessex Internet over the past few months as the company meets our ambitious plans to bring exceptional internet to even more people. We will continue to grow our workforce to fulfil the recently awarded government contracts, so I encourage applications from anyone who wants to work for a company that values a customer-focused approach and where hard work and problem-solving is appreciated.”

Prices for their full fibre packages start at £29 per month for a 100Mbps (15Mbps upload) tier on a 12-month term, but this only comes with a meagre 100GB data allowance (£44 for unlimited), and you’ll have to pay £49 (one-off) for activation. By comparison, their top unlimited usage plan will give 900Mbps (450Mbps upload) for £79 per month, which is fairly expensive by today’s standards, albeit still good if nobody else can supply FTTP.

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