Businesses to benefit from boost to broadband speed
Businesses in parts of Staffordshire and Cheshire will have access to improved superfast broadband speeds next month as part of a significant upgrade to the area's wireless infrastructure.
Engineers from Internet Central (IC), the area's largest and longest-established internet and telecoms company, are carrying out "significant upgrades" to its network of ten transmitter masts serving Stoke, Staffordshire and parts of Cheshire.
Known as IC-air, the network delivers a line-of-sight superfast broadband service from transmitters located on high ground in Crewe, Hack Green, Ipstones, Keele, Leek Road, Meir, Mow Cop, Trentham, Twyford and Woodhead.
Engineers are currently carrying out a major technology upgrade to transmitter masts which will increase broadband speeds from a maximum of 40Mbs to 100Mbs.
The £300,000 investment will see customers receive free upgrades to radio dishes on their premises and the opportunity to receive a much-faster service.
"This is a complete step-change in performance" said Operations Director Jonathan Edge: "There has been a technology breakthrough which allows faster throughput. It's very new - the equipment has only arrived with us in the last few weeks and we are rolling the upgrades out as fast as we can.
"For customers who are happy with the current service they are getting they will be given a new radio dish free-of-charge and the service will continue as it was. If they wish to re-contract with us at a higher speed then they can have a free installation and 2 or 3 times the bandwidth at a similar price.
Because the technology relies on line-of-sight from the transmitter masts IC says that there will remain some parts of the area that it cannot reach.
"There will always be areas - we call them 'not-spots' - which are hidden from our signal by the natural landscape, but large parts of Staffordshire and Cheshire CAN access the service.
"The first of the transmitters are being upgraded right now and upgrades to all the other transmitters will be rolled out over the course of the next few months", said Jonathan.
We're up and running! Chief radio engineer Garry Weston scales the 100 ft. IC mast at Mow Cop to switch on the new service
Photograph by Dave Hancock