An additional 650 homes and businesses in north Shropshire are set to benefit from superfast broadband as part of the Marches and Gloucestershire Viable Clusters Broadband Project.

Herefordshire Council, which will administer the project on behalf of Shropshire Council and other local councils, has been awarded funding by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) using money from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The project is wholly subsidised by DEFRA.

Herefordshire Council now intends to award a £1.4 million contract to Airband to provide superfast broadband to properties in the rural areas around Ellesmere and Oswestry over the next two years.

These premises were not projected to benefit from Shropshire Council’s existing contracts. The new Airband infrastructure will use a hybrid “fixed wireless/fibre to the premises” solution, called RuralOptic, which is capable of delivering broadband speeds of 100mbps and more to consumers.

Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said:

“Superfast broadband is essential for operating in today’s economy. It enables a business to connect with their customers, opens up new markets, and creates new jobs for local residents. I’m delighted that this additional investment will bring increased broadband speeds to businesses and local residents in areas that might have missed out otherwise.