The SE16 section of Southwark has long been a victim of subpar internet speed, but this is all set to change with Relish Wireless installing the first of many aerial masts in the area.
In general London has high-level coverage for “superfast broadband” (defined as speeds of 24Mbps+ capable) which is currently available for approximately 97% of residents. Sadly, however not everyone is able to access this, and certain areas have a far weaker coverage level. Southwark for example only has around 92%.
At the end of 2017 Southwark Council finally decided to tackle the issue and laid out a new digital strategy. Part of the plan meant they were going to pave the way for operators to implement “wireless broadband infrastructure on a number of council owned buildings [that] will supply up to 40Mb broadband speeds across 70% of the borough.”
The ISPs who were involved were UK Broadband (UKB) who operate Relish Wireless and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) who oversee the operating of Vodafone and 02’s wireless mobile networks. In total there will be 13 new sites for CTIL and 26 for UKB, this will bring the total number of installations for both companies up to 28 and 25 respectively.
UKB have already begun their rollout with the first deployment already finished. The installations in Rotherhithe, which is arguably in greatest need will be pushed to the front of the queue and early predictions point to work in the SE16 area being completed before Easter. There have already been connections made and some residents have been able to take advantage of significantly increased speeds.
Prices for Relish Wireless generally sit around the £22 per month mark which allows for speeds of up to 40Mbps and gives unlimited usage. This monthly tariff in accompanied by a free router and it comes with the option of a rolling contract if you are happy to pay a one-off installation fee of £70.
Southwark council is confident that the new agreements with the ISP’s as well as the increased rental rates will be a “significant revenue source … over the next 15 years.” Income for the first year is expected at around £200,000 which will be channelled back into the Digital Infrastructure Strategy.