Broadband boost for homes and businesses
A solution for homeowners and businesses in broadband dead spots across Norfolk and parts of Suffolk is now available after a new service was launched today.
ITSwisp, designed by Norwich IT provider InTouch Systems, cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and people who sign up to the wi-fi technology do not need a phone line.
Customers can either pay monthly for a three or 10 Mbs (megabits per second) service, which works by signals being transmitted from several masts across the region to small aerials on homes or businesses.
Steve Temple, director of ITSwisp, said: 'It is going to help the areas that really do need broadband. It is going to get it to the right parts where broadband is non-existent. We know where the dead spots are.
'We get people talking about the problem but people don't do anything about it. We thought it was time to put our money where our mouth was.'
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A backup system has been installed so if one mast goes down, another will transmit the wi-fi signal, and the network covers areas including Norwich, Beccles, Bungay, Fakenham, Holt, Caister, Wymondham, Attleborough and Southwold.
ITSwisp uses similar technology to the ThinkingWISP wireless broadband service, developed by InTouch Systems, Norfolk Rural Community Council and AF Affinity, a subsidiary of Anglia Farmers agricultural buying group in Honingham Thorpe, near Norwich.
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ThinkingWISP, which has been running for a year, covers the north Norfolk area around Cawston and ITSwisp is an extension of that technology for areas not covered by ThinkingWISP.
ITSwisp is privately funded by InTouch Systems and took 18 months to develop.
Mr Temple added: 'We feel our network will be a massive boost providing truly rural broadband throughout Norfolk, bringing a professional reliable dynamic backbone of internet services to people who need it most.'
During the year InTouch Systems will be adding to the strength of the wireless signal in certain areas, as well as increasing the range of the existing service.
Wireless transmitters can also be fitted onto tall buildings for free.
Properties who use the ThinkingWISP paid for service have a choice of three, eight or 10Mbs
Jon Clemo, chief executive at NRCC, said: 'This is key as broadband is about more than just infrastructure; our goal is to help people and businesses get the benefits from a fast, reliable and high quality service.'
The system received just over �37,000 from Defra and the EU and uses radio waves from a transmitter at Norwich airport to a mast close to Marsham, near Aylsham.
Mr Clemo added: 'It is nice to be able to get groups and businesses and individuals a real solution on the ground with the broadband issue.'
ThinkingWISP has expanded over the first year and 20 small aerials have been put up over the past month, including at Lenwade, Themelthorpe, Swannington, Cawston, Rackheath, Calthorpe and Bradeston.
For information about ITSwisp, visit www.itswisp.co.uk or call InTouch Systems on 01603 425209.
For information about ThinkingWISP call 01603 558001 or visit www.thinkingwisp.co.uk