Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 17:19 UK

Residents in rural Shropshire save broadband link

Residents in a rural part of Shropshire will maintain their broadband connection despite being cut off at midnight.

Around 20 people around Clun will lose their connection because QiComm said the service, set up to help rural areas, was no longer profitable to run.

But the residents have found a local supplier who starts after the cut off.

Resident Robert Humphreys said they were in a "not-spot" and accepted the service was expensive to provide.

The decision by QiComm coincides with the 10th anniversary of the first UK broadband customer.

You can't possibly conduct business without a decent broadband service these days
Resident Robert Humphreys

Ewan Vizard, senior support manager at telecoms operator QiComm, told BBC News the service cost £150,000 a year more to run than the company received in revenue.

The firm won the Advantage West Midlands contract five years ago and served areas through their Access Broadband subsidiary in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Powys and Herefordshire until 31 March.

QiComm has donated the equipment used to supply the homes and businesses to the new provider, a local firm to Clun, Shiloh Jentech.

Mr Vizard said they were meeting contractual obligations in terminating the service and that residents would perhaps benefit from the provider being based in the area.

Maintenance work on equipment would be easier and cheaper to carry out, he said.

Mr Humphreys said he was paying £40 a month for a 2Mbps service and will now pay just less than £30 a month for a 1 to 5Mbps service, depending on how busy the line is.

'Absolute nightmare'

He said the "line of sight" that is required between transmitters and receivers to get a wireless connection is harder to achieve in hilly areas. He added the units needed a power supply, which was not always possible.

Mr Humphreys said: "We're in what is known as a 'not-spot', that is to say we're beyond the reach of BT for broadband purposes.

"We have found another commercial supplier... with a bit of luck it's going to be more or less continuous.

"It's been absolute nightmare to find a way through this thing.

"Some people are doing their own thing, some are losing the service altogether.

"You can't possibly conduct business without a decent broadband service these days.

"We found we were going backwards, 10 years after it (broadband) started as a phenomena."

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