ONE thousand premises on Dartmoor are expected to be able to access wireless superfast broadband by the end of May and many more are in the pipeline.

The Connecting Dartmoor and Exmoor programme, led by Connecting Devon and Somerset Partnership (CDS) with support from the national park authorities, will see 5,800 homes, farms and businesses across the two national parks connect to the internet using fixed, wireless broadband technology in the near future.

Airband, the wireless broadband contractor for the national parks, has recently announced that its wireless transmitters are now live on South West Dartmoor.

A spokesperson for Dartmoor National Park Authority said: ‘The CDS team is making preparations for an event at the end of May that will launch the network to areas that are live on Dartmoor. By then, it is expected that over 1,000 premises on Dartmoor will have access to a wireless superfast service focused on the area to the south west of the moor. All parishes that are capable of receiving a wireless signal will be contacted by the CDS team to inform them when they are live.

‘Installation of the rest of the network is progressing well across Dartmoor; many now have planning permission and the remaining few applications are expected to be submitted in the next two weeks. It was hoped that the build of the network would have been completed by the end of March, however the spell of wet weather has severely hampered the build in some places.’

Airband is now working with CDS and BDUK to finalise arrangements for the ‘wholesale open access platform’ that will make the service available to a range of internet service providers. The necessary testing of the systems and network to make sure it is stable, will start this month. This is hoped to be concluded in a matter of weeks, after which businesses and residents fed by the live transmitters can place an order.

Fixed wireless broadband is a type of high-speed internet access where connections use radio signals rather than cables. Fixed wireless broadband utilises transmission masts or poles which house radios that communicate to smaller radio receivers at customers’ premises. The Airband network specialises in remote and rural areas, using point-to-point, radio wave, wireless technology that is specifically designed to avoid interference from natural obstructions such as trees, hills and buildings. The network will provide broadband speeds of 30Mbps.

This development kick-starts phase two of the publicly-funded Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband programme which aims to provide 95% of Devon and Somerset with superfast broadband. The Connecting Dartmoor and Exmoor programme for the south west’s two national parks is due to be completed at the end of 2016.

The CDS team has been working with Airband to develop a specific map for Dartmoor and Exmoor. The map will be at a premise level and will also show the anticipated reach of the wireless signal across the two national parks through the use of a heat map. The map will show which premises will be able to receive a service and an indication of when it is expected to be live.

The map, as well as information on how to get connected, will be available on the CDS and Airband websites to coincide with the launch of the network at the end of May.