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Young entrepreneur helps bring high-speed broadband to rural Northumberland

AIRNEXUS (formerly DANECO), run by Paul Smith, will support the efforts of the iNorthumberland programme in bringing 100% coverage to Stocksfield and Broomhaugh

A stretch of rural Northumberland will receive 100% broadband coverage following the intervention of a local tech company run by a young entrepreneur.

Young Entrepreneur
Stocksfield and Broomhaugh are celebrating after learning the area will receive 100% broadband coverage. Paul Smith, MD of DANECO is far left

The Whittonstall-based DANECO, which also trades as airNexus, has come forward with a commercial plan to deploy superfast broadband services around Stocksfield and Broomhaugh within the next year.

The move follows a consultation exercise carried out by the iNorthumberland project in the hardest-to-reach rural communities, with DANECO responding to an invitation to all broadband suppliers to declare their existing or planned coverage as a series of postcodes.

Assurance activity has been carried out by Northumberland County Council and the Government on the information received from the business, which has been accepted by BDUK on to the Better Broadband Scheme as an official government supplier.

Through the main iNorthumberland programme – backed by funding from council, central Government and the EU – BT has already upgraded Stocksfield, Mickley and Riding Mill to a superfast service and, in the coming 12 months, will add New Ridley Village to the list.

Combined, these efforts will enable 100% coverage of Stocksfield and Broomhaugh within the next year – and as DANECO and its investors will finance its work, there will be no cost to taxpayers.

County Councillor for Stocksfield and Broomhaugh, Anne Dale, who has been working closely with residents and businesses to identify connectivity needs, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to secure complete superfast broadband coverage for our rural communities.

“I’ve been working hard over the past two years to establish and document the demand for faster internet services here and the fact we have been able to secure a solution from a local business is an extra bonus.

“A number of companies were interested in this opportunity and after the supplier event we held we had five express an interest in providing connectivity to the area.

“Ultimately it was DANECO, a local company, who came forward with a commercial investment option.

“We now intend to sign a Partnership Agreement with DANECO to allow them to use the iNorthumberland brand and support them with areas like marketing, engagement, planning and highways.

“This is a great example of the council working closely with local businesses for the benefit of residents, businesses and the local economy.”

Paul Smith, managing director of DANECO said: “As a young, local entrepreneur, it is an extremely rewarding opportunity to build and deliver a carrier class network into some of Northumberland’s most rural and sparsely populated communities.

“For many, high­speed broadband is now considered ‘the fourth utility’ and I am delighted that we have been approved by central and local Government to continue expanding our infrastructure.

“Given the nature of the local land, it was decided that a microwave solution would be the most effective in terms of reliability, speed and time to market.

“Unlike larger carriers, we enjoy an old fashioned approach to customer service and like the local butchers or greengrocers of yesteryear, are very much active constituents of the communities we serve.”

Among the businesses set to benefit is the Stocksfield­-based training organisation Release Potential.

Hugh Hutchinson from the firm said: “In order for a rural company like Release Potential to continue to compete with inner city organisations and continue to secure local jobs, an effective superfast broadband Internet link is essential.

“A superfast broadband Internet link will vastly improve our productivity and allow Release Potential to complete its commitment to become a paperless environmentally conscious business.”

Councillor Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council stressed that effective broadband was crucial for both residents and businesses.

“Through the iNorthumberland programme we have already delivered or have plans to deliver superfast broadband to the vast majority of properties, and we’re now looking at those homes and businesses outside of the current plans,” he said.

The iNorthumberland project is being delivered by the authority, with funding from the Department for Culture Media and Sport via BDUK, European Regional Development Fund and Defra’s Rural Community Broadband Fund.

Source: The Chronicle –

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July Update

Dear Resident,

Firstly, apologies once again for the delay since my previous update – lots have been happening! Here’s my last update before the service finally goes live:

Fibre Splicing

Fibre Splicing

At long last, in the above picture you can see the fibre has finally arrived within the telecoms cabin. The piece of equipment sitting above the server rack is a very expensive bit of kit designed to accurately splice the fibre sections. The unit aligns the two fibre parts together automatically, providing a magnified display for the operator to inspect the process. Once the two sections are optimally aligned, the fusion takes place in just a few moments and an estimated signal loss is displayed – in this case, very minimal; an excellent result. However, it has taken a tremendous amount of ground work before this stage could be reached and a small selection of photos are available on the airNexus website gallery, here.

Openreach NTE

Openreach NTE

Above is a photograph of BT Openreach’s Network Termination Equipment (NTE). Although our service is not provided by BT, Openreach act as agents for the UK’s numerous operators, connecting customer sites to the national infrastructure. The yellow cable is the fibre optic link which connects our service to the upstream carrier and the early link tests passed with flying colours, another great result. The optical cable is about the thickness of a human hair and is protected by a Kevlar sleeving within the outermost jacket – very hi-tech indeed!


Telecoms Cabin

In the photograph above, we can see the ex-Orange Mobile telecoms cabin on its concrete base complete with lattice mast in the background. At this stage, the electrics were yet to be completed but only a few days later, I was amazed to discover everything in perfect order – not even a single bulb out. The cabin was an excellent buy and indeed it cost more to have the unit transported than it did to acquire in the first place. By this stage, all evidence of the hard work digging trenches has just about disappeared – but here’s a photo of the duct before backfilling with sand, fibre warning tape and top soil:

Duct in Trench

Duct in Trench
What happens next?

Today I am expecting the arrival of the replacement cable transits which allow for a water-tight fitting around the cables feeding the radios. Once these are in, I can get the radios and antennae mounted on the mast, powered up and aligned. Meanwhile, I am also expecting the carrier to deliver and install their managed equipment which, once powered up, will provide me with an interface for the core routing equipment to link into. From this point forward, I will then have a serviceable Internet connection over which I can perform some final software and firmware updates along with some optimisation. This process will only take a couple of days and the installations will begin.

Subscribing to the service.

It has recently come to my attention that a number of residents in Whittonstall are experiencing severe problems with their landline phone and broadband services. In some instances, customers have lost both phone and broadband completely whilst others have intermittent connectivity. May I remind you that the airNexus service is not delivered via the landline and is unaffected by these problems – phone and broadband services are delivered to your property via an encrypted, licensed wireless link. In the majority of cases, the radio is approximately the size of a pint pot (sometimes less) and is connected to your premises in a high location with a clear line-of-sight to the nearest serving radio base station.

If you have not already placed an order for service but would like to be connected as soon as possible, I would highly recommend you do so now in order to take advantage of the introductory pricing and to reserve an installation slot. Your custom is greatly appreciated and will help to fund a local community scheme I have in mind. In order to subscribe, please visit the airNexus website for pricing, terms of service and order form:

And finally…

I am delighted to inform you that airNexus have now been accepted onto the Government’s BDUK Connection Vouchers scheme. This means that businesses can benefit from up to £3,000 off the cost of their installation (including internal wireless improvements). Do hurry however, as the funds are rapidly running out! If you wish to take advantage of this scheme, please do not hesitate to contact me for further assistance.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest newsletter and I hope you will consider airNexus for your improved home and business connectivity.

Kindest regards,

Paul Smith
Managing Director
Wireless Broadband Company, Limited

Telephone: 01207 750 550