23/01/2020 - Permalink

News from our partners: Neenton gets 2020 ultrafast broadband boost

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News from our partners Airband 

A small village in the heart of Shropshire has been given the gift of ultrafast speed broadband for 2020 thanks to the Connecting Shropshire programme.

Connecting Shropshire and Airband have announced that Airband’s ultrafast fibre network is now live in Neenton.

Many houses in Neenton, near Bridgnorth, have suffered with connection speeds of less than 2 Mbps making it a proper digital ‘not spot’. The new fibre optic broadband network will mean that premises can get connected to a broadband service with a download speed of up to 100 Mbps, which is enough to download an HD movie in 2.5 minutes.

The Pheasant at Neenton is a community-owned pub and Airband is providing a free connection for the pub as part of its commitment to championing community values and better connectivity for rural communities.

John Pickup, Chairman of Neenton Parish Meeting and Neenton Community Society which owns and operates the Pheasant, said he was delighted the village will be the first site for Airband’s new rural fibre deployment:-

“Neenton is a go-ahead, collaborative community – we work together for the common good, so we’re very excited about being able to have ultrafast broadband. Having a free connection for the pub which is our community hub is the icing on the proverbial cake!

“Ultrafast connectivity really will transform things round here and enable people to work remotely and make use of all kinds of software and applications that they couldn’t before.”

The Pheasant in Neenton

Airband’s Shropshire Community Ambassador Andy Chaloner (centre) with Pheasant Manager and Head Chef Mark Harris (second right), Manager Front of House Sarah Cowley (right), Parish Clerk Bobby Jarvis (left) and local Shropshire Councillor for Brown Clee Robert Tindall, at The Pheasant, Neenton.
Photo: Chas Breton

Airband is delivering ultrafast fibre broadband to 40 clusters across Shropshire in the final stage of its contract with Connecting Shropshire. It has already delivered superfast connectivity to 10,500 premises and this ultrafast rollout will deliver ultrafast connectivity to a further 2,200 premises.

Dave Lloyd, head of projects at Airband, said that he was delighted with how smoothly the process had gone:-

“Bringing ultrafast to Neenton represents everything that Airband is about – we are transforming connectivity for people and communities who deserve better. It’s so rewarding to be able to provide such a vast improvement in broadband speeds and the reaction and appreciation from the villagers here has been incredible.

“We have already started planning and surveying for the remaining clusters. And when we build our ultrafast networks, we use existing infrastructure wherever possible (eg existing poles and underground ducts), which means we can set up an ultrafast fibre network very rapidly.

“Once we start building a network in an area, the process from ordering to installation should take just a few weeks.”

Airband’s fibre roll-out in Shropshire includes premises in the following parish council and town council areas: Astley Abbotts, Barrow, Bicton, Hodnet, Llanfair Waterdine, Market Drayton, Pimhill, Prees, Sheriffhales and Tong. All clusters are expected to be live by early 2021.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for organisational transformation and digital infrastructure, said:

“I’m really glad to see that Airband are integrating ‘full fibre’ technology into their deployment plans. Access to ultrafast broadband is something we know the Government is eager to support in rural areas. As the rollout of fibre networks progresses through 2020, we expect Airband to be able to offer more fibre connections to other premises along the way.”

The project to deliver better connectivity to Shropshire is supported by the Marches LEP, which secured more than £8m of Growth Deal funding specifically to improve access to high speed broadband in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Mandy Thorn, Chairman of the Marches LEP, said:

“It’s great to see this technology being rolled out in Shropshire. We know that a lack of connectivity hinders business growth and this demonstrates how the LEP is delivering real change to rural communities.”

Robert Tindall, local Shropshire Councillor for Brown Clee, said:

“This is great news for Neenton, and The Pheasant in particular. 1,000 premises in my  division already have access to a superfast broadband connection, thanks to Shropshire Council’s Connecting Shropshire broadband programme. Over the next 12 months, 100 homes and businesses in my division are expected to gain access to Airband’s ultrafast broadband networks.”

To find out if you’re in Airband’s current or planned coverage area, please enter your postcode at: https://home.airband.co.uk/coverage/ or Airband on call 01905 676121 during office hours.

Further information

Connecting Shropshire

  • The Connecting Shropshire programme is bringing superfast broadband (with a download speed of at least 30mbps) to parts of the Shropshire Council area where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to do so.
  • Since 2013, Connecting Shropshire has provided over 68,000 premises in the Shropshire Council area with access to a superfast broadband connection.
  • More information is available on the Connecting Shropshire programme website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/


  • Airband is an award-winning Internet service provider transforming connectivity for people and communities who deserve better. Airband offers ultrafast fibre and superfast fixed wireless broadband to homes and businesses across many rural areas of the UK – including Shropshire.
  • In Shropshire, Airband has been working with the Connecting Shropshire programme since 2017 to bring better connectivity to homes and businesses.
  • Airband’s superfast fixed wireless network already provides connectivity to 10,500 premises across the county. Airband’s ultrafast fibre networks will provide connectivity for a further 2,200 premises across 40 rural clusters across Shropshire.

Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  • The Marches LEP is driving accelerated economic growth through investment in innovation, higher level skills, housing and business sites across the region. It aims to deliver 70,000 homes and 40,000 jobs by 2031.
  • The Marches region, which includes Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin, is a dynamic business region where entrepreneurs flourish alongside global players. Covering 2,300 sq miles and with a growing population of 666,700, it is home to 29,800 businesses and a £12.3 billion economy.
  • Bordered by the West Midlands to the east and Wales to the west, the Marches’ key centres of population and employment are the city of Hereford and thriving towns of Shrewsbury and Telford.  A network of 25 smaller market towns and a large rural area make up the rest of the settlement mix – with the Marches recognised as being one of the most enterprising regions in the UK.
  • You can learn more about the Marches LEP at www.marcheslep.org.uk and contact the LEP by emailing enquiries@marcheslep.org.uk

Local Growth Fund

  • LEPs are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. By 2021, UK Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.
  • Further information. If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact the Department of Communities and Local Government press office by emailing  NewsDesk@communities.gsi.gov.ukin the first instance to request any additional information you might need.