Blackburn residents will be one of the first in the UK to access the next generation of broadband, which will be delivered wirelessly and capable of reaching speeds of 6,000 Mbps by 2025.
The new wireless network is being constructed by Lancashire-based company IX Wireless, while the broadband is being delivered to consumers and businesses by internet service provider 6G Internet. The roll-out will see 38,000 Blackburn premises connected to the network over the next 24 months.
Councillor Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We know that faster broadband and a better internet connection can make a real difference to people’s lives, helping them to not only carry out essential tasks such as money management, applying for jobs and accessing education, but also connecting them to more people through social media. We are looking forward to starting work on this on behalf of local residents and businesses.”
Because the new network is delivered by wireless transmitters installed on roof-tops, telecommunication masts, monopoles and street poles, there will be very few road closures or disruptions commonly associated with digging up roads to lay fibre-optic cables. It also means that residents will be able to get ultra-fast broadband without needing a telephone line.
And as part of work to ensure everyone can enjoy the benefits of being online, 6G Internet is also donating 20% of its network usage to social causes. This means less well-off residents will be able to access free basic internet, while the local authority, schools and charities can work with 6G to provide digitally excluded pupils with daily access to unlimited internet at home.
With 6G Internet listed as an approved supplier by the government’s BDUK programme, its expansion in Blackburn comes as part of wider plans to reach four million homes across the UK by 2022.
Phil Walker, director of finance at 6G Internet, said: “Over the last 15 years, billions of pounds have been invested in research and development for wireless broadband technology. NASA uses it to communicate with its Mars rover, Tesla’s cars use it to update and navigate. Now we are using it to make sure people in Blackburn can access the internet faster and cheaper than anywhere else in the UK.
Neil Knighton, communications manager at IX Wireless, said: “We are working very closely with Blackburn with Darwen council to ensure the absolute minimum disruption for residents. Our liaison officers will be on site to make sure things are running smoothly throughout the process, while residents will also be able to call a dedicated phone number for community support.
“We’re very excited to bring wireless broadband to Blackburn and look forward to making sure everyone in the town can access the benefits of ultra-fast internet.”