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Mesh Broadband, a company offering wireless Internet access in Bedfordshire County in the UK, has mysteriously shut down: I’m not totally clear if the network has actually been shut off yet. Mesh Broadband was a subcontractor for Cable & Wireless and the venture to build the network in the rural area was funded by the East of England Development Agency. According to the Register, a message at the Mesh Broadband phone line says that the network is currently unsupported. News coverage of the issue reveal that no one seems to know anything about why the company shut down and what will happen to the network, although the Bedfordshire County Council is hopeful that Cable & Wireless can figure out how to support existing customers and complete the build of the rest of the network.
It’s hard to know how much to read into this. Hopefully, Mesh Broadband’s failure is an isolated incident and not an indication of difficulties that companies might have in using government funding to serve rural areas. There are many initiatives across Europe where governments fund or partly fund the building and maintenance of broadband networks serving areas that the commercial providers aren’t interested in.