Connecting Shropshire

Broadband in focus

Pipekit

Founded by Martyn Rowlands at his dining room table in 2011, Pipekit is an independent, family owned, plastic pipework and drainage distributor based in Annscroft, a small village on the outskirts of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

He had no hesitation in starting his highly successful business in Shropshire. Martyn states:

“Shropshire is a fantastic place to live and run a business. The majority of our nine staff live within five miles of our premises and road networks to North and South are easy which has enabled us to serve the rest of the UK on a ‘Next Day’ basis.”

Superfast broadband in the County has also contributed greatly to the company’s success.

Martyn adds, “Excellent broadband connections has allowed us to offer an active e-commerce website, ably supported by our dedicated team who pride themselves on first-class customer service and technical support.”

To read the full case study, go to the Invest in Shropshire website: http://www.investinshropshire.co.uk/relocate-to-shropshire/pipekit-case-study/?section=relocate

Hundred House Hotel, Norton

On what was a cold, wet and windy morning, we pulled up at the Hundred House Hotel in Norton eager to get inside for shelter from the elements. We were greeted by warmth and comfort before meeting with co-owner David Phillips, who has recently overseen the hotel’s upgrade from standard to fibre broadband. To read the full case study, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2016/04/case-study-hundred-house-hotel-norton/

Corve Barn Farm

We recently visited Corve Barn Farm (http://www.corvebarnfarm.co.uk/) in the Corvedale near Much Wenlock to hear how access to a wireless broadband service has transformed the lives of the Davies family. For the full story, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2015/12/case-study-wireless-broadband-in-the-corvedale/

The Old Rectory B&B

There was once a time when access to Wi-Fi was considered a luxury in hotels and B&Bs. However, as technology has developed and become central to many of our day to day lives, access to a good Wi-Fi connection is now expected. While many businesses benefit primarily from faster upload speeds and website maintenance, our recent visit to a local B&B has emphasised the variety of benefits a fibre broadband connection offers.

To read the full case study, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2015/10/case-study-%e2%80%93-the-old-rectory-bb/

Morris Corfield Case Study

It’s a bright morning as we arrive in Broseley to visit Morris Corfield, a family-run supplier of agricultural equipment across Shropshire and beyond, ranging from large cultivation machinery and tractors, to log splitters and hedge trimmers. As a business, Morris Corfield took the opportunity to upgrade to fibre broadband as soon as the local cabinet was fibre-enabled in December 2014 by the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme.

To read more, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2015/07/morris-corfield-case-study/

Jonathan Terry – Sylvan Resources (http://www.sylvanresources.co.uk/), Clungunford

Woodland management consultant, Jonathan Terry, believes the root of any successful small business lies in effective use of technology, and therefore branching out and upgrading to fibre optic broadband is a ‘must’ for people like him running a business from home.

After gaining a degree in Forestry and a Masters Degree in Environmental Science, Jonathan set up Sylvan Resources in 1990. From his base in Clungunford he specialises in giving technical advice and guidance to developers looking to protect and preserve trees on development sites as well as advising landowners across the country on the general management of forestry and woodlands.

In common with many other businesses he has found that more and more of his work is done online. For example, applying for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) grants – which Jonathan does on behalf of his clients – and accessing other Government information, all of which now has to be carried out online.

Another aspect of his job involves mapping areas. For this he needs to access Ordnance Survey (OS) information and orders and downloads a lot of OS plans which can be very large files. He researches habitats and turns to resources such as the www.gov.uk Natural England website to do this work.

Jonathan also has to store of lots of photographs, plans and reports using Cloud services such as Dropbox and often has large files to share by email, so the arrival of fibre broadband has made this easier and faster.

Jonathan upgraded his broadband service to high-speed fibre broadband as soon as it became available in April 2014. 

He said: “By having access to high-speed fibre broadband I’m able to continue running my business from home and keep pace with changes in the way public and commercial  services are being delivered as well as meeting the needs of my customers whether they are a developer in the middle of London or here on my doorstep in the Marches.

“The improvements have been astonishing. Before I upgraded our service to fibre broadband I would routinely lose my internet connection which would be very frustrating if I was in the middle of making a grant application online. There is no other way to do these applications so my business would have suffered if I couldn’t routinely do this kind of work.”

In their leisure time Jonathan and his wife Yewa, like to catch up on television programmes on computer rather than watching live TV. Before upgrading to fibre broadband this was not as enjoyable and relaxing an experience as it should have been, with programmes stopping and starting without any warning. A further benefit has been the option to connect their mobiles to their broadband service so they can make and receives calls on their mobiles – normally impossible in this part of Shropshire!

The Lewis Family, Clungunford

Access to the internet has become increasingly more important for Steve and Diane Lewis, a  couple living in Clungunford, Shropshire, which is why they were among the first people in the village to opt for an upgrade after Connecting Shropshire rolled out fibre broadband to their community.

Diane became Steve’s carer after he suffered a severe head injury some years back whilst playing football which forced him to retire on medical grounds. This has meant that getting out and about is not as easy as it once was for the couple, especially Steve, who spends a lot of time at home – and more and more time on the web. They both rely on it for online banking, all their supermarket shopping, catch-up TV and You Tube as well as streaming movies and for keeping in touch with family and friends.

Eager to upgrade

As a result, Steve and Diane were among the first residents in Clungunford to upgrade their service to superfast fibre broadband when it arrived in the village in May last year. Steve confesses to being fond of technology and was eager to upgrade as soon as possible. They were delighted to find that their upload speeds increased to a superfast speed of 76 megabits per second – from a painfully slow 5Mbps before – with upload speeds going from 1 to 19Mbps.

Meanwhile, high-speed fibre broadband couldn’t come fast enough for their 17 year-old son, Graeme, who is a great online gaming enthusiast. In the days before fibre optic broadband, this used to mean that when he was at home and enjoying his X-Box and Nintendo DS or on Skype to friends – sometimes all at the same time – no-one else could get a look-in online! The Ludlow College student also relies on being online to submit course work.

Steve said: “Since upgrading to fibre broadband it’s been amazing for us all – we just couldn’t believe the difference. It doesn’t matter who’s using what device and when anymore – we can all be doing separate things online at the same time now, whereas there used to be a queue to get online before and we used to have to take it in turns.”

Mobile benefits

Mobile coverage in Shropshire is notoriously poor. But here again fibre broadband is helping. EE have provided the family with a box to hook up to the broadband so now Steve can rely on picking up calls on his mobile phone which he keeps with him all the time. He said: “If I was out in the garden I wouldn’t always be able to hear the phone in the house. With my mobile in my pocket I don’t miss calls from Graeme if he calls me from college.”

Never missing an episode

Steve is a great soap fan so takes advantage of catch-up TV services to make sure he never misses an episode whilst Diane is a fan of drama series such as The Syndicate.

She said: “When I forgot to watch an episode recently it was great to be able to replay the episode a few days after it was originally aired, and at a time that suited me better.”

Their superfast fibre connection is great for leisure but it is also something of a lifeline for the couple Steve isn’t happy in crowded places so supermarket shopping is not really an option.

Diane said: “We do our ‘big shop’ online every couple of weeks. Before upgrading it could take ages to go through our list and select our choices. If the connection dropped we’d lose the contents of our ‘basket’ and have to start all over again. Now we enjoy browsing the full lists the supermarkets offer and getting it all delivered direct to their door.”

And not missing out on family

Keeping in touch with family has also benefited from the upgrade. Diane’s brother has lived in China for the last 15 years, with his wife and their three-year-old daughter. In the past they could only stay in touch by phone which could be expensive. Now the families Skype every week and sometimes more often if there is something new to talk about. Diane explains: “Being able to see my little niece on the screen was like having her here in the living room. I can see her growing up and don’t feel like I am missing out.”

Steve said: “Before my head injury I wouldn’t have dreamt of having a computer but now I wouldn’t be without it and especially fibre broadband. For me the internet is a way to get out without going out. It knows no boundaries and the opportunities are endless.”

In the future Steve is looking forward to treating himself to a 4K ultra high definition TV, to enable him to enjoy even more benefits of faster fibre broadband.

Jonathan Roberts and Morgoed Estates (www.morgoedestates.com), Clungunford

Morgoed Estates is a firm based in Clungunford, Shropshire. It is one of the UK’s largest buyers of ground rents and rentcharges in the UK. As managing director and owner Jonathan Roberts explains: “Morgoed Estates is one of only four five companies in the UK in this business. Our firm owns the freehold of properties across the UK which if gathered together in one place would be the equivalent of a town the size of Shrewsbury.”

The firm is a family business set up by Jonathan 25 years ago. The main contacts the company deals with are land agents and estate agents, solicitors and the Land Registry. Jonathan said: “Our work often involves sending very large files, such as title documents which can run to 100 pages or more. We can now email in a matter of seconds what used to take around half an hour! “

Jonathan chairs Clungunford Parish Council and is keen to spread the word of the benefits to the local economy of fibre broadband.

He upgraded the family firm to faster fibre broadband as soon as it became available in the summer last year. Speeds went from just 0.5Mbps before the upgrade to receiving download speeds of up to 50Mbps and upload speeds of around 10Mbps. He says that there has been a lot of support in the village for the Connecting Shropshire programme and he encourages residents and businesses based in the parish to take advantage of the roll-out of high speed fibre broadband.

He added: “Increasingly faster fibre broadband has become an essential business tool, as more and more aspects of our day-to-day work are done online. For example it is now possible to register title deeds with the Land Registry electronically which obviously saves on postage but also smooths and speeds up the whole process. Similarly emailing documents to solicitors is quicker and cheaper than sending large packages by post.”

Not everything can be done online but by doing as much as possible electronically Jonathan estimates that their annual postage bill has been cut by several thousands of pounds. They don’t use Skype in the business yet as previously it just wasn’t an option but they are considering making more use of this way of communicating in future.

Meanwhile, Jonathan’s wife, is a farmer running 110 acres of sheep farm with 200 sheep so has single farm payment claims to file – these must be done online so life has become a bit easier for her too. She is looking at extending the benefits of high speed broadband to the lambing shed where she is considering installing CCTV cameras streamed over the fibre optic network to make lambing season next year less onerous. Cameras will ease the task of those watching ewes and their lambs round the clock.

In their leisure time at home the family enjoys having access throughout the house to high speed broadband – Jonathan admits to sometimes watching live feeds of rugby whilst getting on with other tasks!

The Rocke Cottage Tearooms, Clungunford

Fibre broadband is certainly providing food for thought for small businesses like the Rocke Cottage Tea Rooms in South Shropshire, where fibre broadband was installed in March 2015 following the roll-out of the technology locally as part of the Connecting Shropshire partnership, spearheaded by Shropshire Council and BT.

The Tea Rooms staff use the internet to research new recipes, order ingredients and stores for the tearooms, as well as to keep in touch with local events and news – all of which have been easier and faster to do, since the premises became connected to fibre optic broadband network.

They cook and bake all the food on the menu, so it’s easy to see why the Rocke Cottage Tea Rooms is popular with locals and tourists alike and rapidly gaining a reputation for the wide variety of teas it has on offer – more than 30 at the last count.

Visitors are coming from further and further afield, with one couple recently making the 140-mile round trip from Cheltenham specially to sample its mouth-watering menu.

Having the new technology is also opening up a wide range of exciting marketing opportunities. The tearooms will soon be offering a deal via the promotion website Groupon. This will enable people who book a table online to enjoy another speciality of the tearooms – a savoury cream tea comprising a cheese scone (with a hint of cayenne pepper), cream cheese and marmite all served with tea.

In the meantime, the tea room website is set for a makeover. Being connected to faster fibre broadband will mean making these sorts of improvements and providing regular menu updates will be easier and quicker than ever.

Before the arrival of high-speed broadband, staff reflect that it often would have been quicker for them to drive to collect produce rather than to go through the ordeal of ordering the items online.

They believe fibre has provided the catalyst for various online improvements and marketing initiatives that will help the business thrive and grow.

A local resident in Astley has just upgraded to a fibre broadband package.

He is now able to connect a laptop, computer, two mobile phones and a TV to the internet all at the same time and everything is running fine at a speed of 37.3mbps, up from 2.3mbps previously.

They immediately noticed a big difference in the quality of the programmes on their TV, their iPad is much faster, and uploading photos to Flickr is really quick.

But did it cost a lot more? No! This happy customer was able to upgrade to a package with their internet service provider that includes phone line, most calls and superfast fibre broadband for marginally less than they were paying previously!

Hobsons Brewery in Cleobury Mortimer recently upgraded to fibre broadband and we met up with their Commercial Director to find out how they had found the switch in the early days.

“Ultimately what it’s allowed us to do is free up time, and our staff have become more efficient as a result [of the faster speeds] because they can finish the job quicker and move onto something else. The more efficient the workforce is, the more you can deliver without increasing your business costs, and as a result you can be a lot more ambitious and achieve a lot more in your time.”

For the full story, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2015/04/fibre-in-focus-hobsons-brewery/

Severn Partnership and Seeable

Nick Blenkarn director of the Severn Partnership and Seeable explains how his businesses have benefited from upgrading to a fibre broadband service and the support from the Optimising Business Broadband project

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m3-2echd8g

Superfast Britain case studies

The following short films of less than 60 seconds duration from Broadband Delivery UK focuss on the benefits of upgrading to a fibre broadband service when it becomes available.

Please note that the people interviewed are from the village of Spaldwick in Cambridgeshire, where download speeds over fibre broadband are about 20x faster than that over the copper network:

Small Business – http://youtu.be/v8XLA2epH-o 

Family 1 – http://youtu.be/32_-lj3-jjk 

Family 2 – http://youtu.be/m1s3J-JOll8 

Retired Couple 1 – http://youtu.be/RpxFTOF8zho 

Retired Couple 2 – http://youtu.be/7wMQoJUKLhg 

Village Deli – http://youtu.be/7YR9jCZUkOI 

Summary – http://youtu.be/k6Bxg8nlxLQ

We recently spoke to James Frizzell the manager of the Majestic Cinema in Bridgnorth.

Opened in 1937, the cinema has upgraded to a fibre broadband service, which means that the films that it screens can now be downloaded in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.

Hear what James has to say on this short YouTube video, http://bit.ly/15c4CcX,

We asked Malcolm MacIntyre-Read to share his thoughts on switching to fibre based broadband, he kindly agreed.

Here is his experience:

Before I upgraded to the fibre option, the best downlink I had was around 8Mbps, with uplink at 2Mbps.  At peak times, when the kiddies returned from school, followed by the biggies getting back from work, the “speed” dropped to hanging in the ether limbo… a regular, noticeable block from 16.00 to 19.00 pretty well every week day and at
irregular periods over the weekend.

Having a steady flow of emails and the need for online research – both due to the various community campaigns in which I am active – such unreliability was, to put it politely, frustrating.  But with the recent connection to the fibre system, the change has been joyous!  This was especially so as my wife became a dedicated iPad user around the same time, and with family and friends across five continents, communications have become visual, speedier and a lot less costly.

Soon after the connection I ran the OOKLA Speedtest to find that we are getting over 37Mbps downlink and nearly 10Mbps uplink, an increase of over 460% for downlinks and around 500% for uplinks… quite an improvement!  And at last… a direct benefit from our Council Tax in spite of the years of cut backs!

I also feel that I can try now try to relax occasionally from the community demands by watching TV programmes I have previously missed using services such as BBC iPlayer that previously were just a series of eye-blowing jerks… in so many ways.

From our ISP – non-profit The Phone Co-op – it has cost just an extra £5 per month on top of our previous package rate, which I feel is more than good value for money. In short… been there, done that, so glad I could, and recommend anyone who can also plug in now or later, as the fibre network expands, to do so.

This article was written for the September 2014 edition of the Stretton Focus, about fibre broadband in the SY6, Church Stretton, All Stretton, Little Stretton, area of Shropshire.

Super-fast fibre broadband comes to the Strettons

Observant Strettonians may have noticed that some new green roadside cabinets have appeared around the town this summer. These are part of the ‘fibre broadband’ infrastructure that is changing homes and workplaces across the UK.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre-optic broadband, also known as ‘fibre to the cabinet’ (FTTC) or just ‘fibre broadband’, is a new way of providing internet connectivity for homes and businesses. It offers much faster data transfer rates than is possible with the ADSL system used by most premises at the moment.

Why is it fibre ‘to the cabinet’?

Premises in the UK are linked to the local telephone exchange using a twisted pair of wires, usually arriving through an overhead cable. This technology is fundamentally unchanged since Alexander Graham Bell invented it in 1881. If you want a really fast digital transmission medium today, you use fibre-optic cables. These can carry enormous amounts of data at very high speed.

Replacing the wires to all 1000+ homes and businesses in SY6 would be impractical. So BT Openreach have run fibre-optic cables to Stretton’s seven new roadside connection cabinets. Premises then connect to their nearby cabinet instead of to the exchange, and for this shorter distance the existing wires can deliver higher speeds.

What speeds can you get, and who needs broadband that fast?

The current ADSL2+ system gives speeds of up to 24Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, dependent on distance from the exchange. Speeds with fibre broadband are up to 76Mbps download and 19Mbps upload, dependent on distance from the cabinet. Most premises are much closer to a cabinet than to the exchange.

For the home user, these sorts of speeds open up new possibilities for things like high-definition online streamed video content that is stutter-free and with pictures as good as satellite or terrestrial HD TV.

For business users, it means that Stretton is as well-connected digitally as many major UK towns. For digital content creators, for example, the greatly increased upload speeds are particularly important. The author is one of those to benefit, and now uploads video files in 25 minutes that would previously have taken 8 hours to send.

How do I get fibre broadband?

Most but not all premises in the Strettons can get fibre broadband now. The availability checker (see link at end of this article) shows whether a particular number can get fibre broadband, and what sorts of speeds that line can support.

Choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP) is important. BT have a monopoly on wires and cabinets, but there is a choice of ISPs. A poor ISP can mean poor speeds even if you have a great fibre connection.

Having chosen your ISP carefully, they will then steer you though the process of changing to fibre broadband. An engineer will visit and change the faceplate of your telephone master socket at your premises, and provide a super-fast fibre broadband modem. You also have to configure your router appropriately; your ISP can advise on this.

There may be a connection charge of £20-£50, or if you sign up for 12 months or more many providers will connect you for free. Monthly charges for fibre broadband vary depending on provider and package, but are typically about 10% more than regular broadband. Your existing router may be suitable, but if you need to buy another one, prices start from about £30 or it may be included in your deal.

Church Stretton – a great place to live and work

Fibre broadband in the Strettons has been made possible as part of Connecting Shropshire’s £16m digital connectivity plan. The justification for using public money in this way is the long-term economic benefit that it will bring to the area. South Shropshire has always been a great place to live; now it is a great place for the new generation of digital gurus and online content creators to work, too.


Article by Steve Aze, summer 2014.  This article first appeared in the Stretton Focus, September edition.

Steve describes himself as a ‘creative geek’ and runs a national educational software business employing 8 people. He lives and works in Church Stretton.

For links to further information relating to fibre broadband in the SY6 area, see www.aze.org.uk/FTTC

We recently spoke to Adam Jones from Harlescott, who switched to fibre broadband this summer after his cabinet was upgraded by the Connecting Shropshire programme.

“Before I upgraded to fibre, I was using all of the bandwidth I had, pushing the speeds to the best I could get.” Adam said. “I’d regularly be downloading films and music, games for my consoles, apps for my phone as well as streaming movies and TV shows using services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. I claim to do all these things but in reality it was one at a time which, as a busy man, was extremely frustrating.”

So what has it been like since the switch to fibre?

“I can do pretty much all of this, but all at the same time.” Adam continued. “I’d moaned for years about not having fibre, then suddenly having it was very strange! Before, I needed to be able to watch a film whilst downloading others, but my connection wouldn’t let me – it simply didn’t cut it in busy household, with all of us downloading, uploading and streaming. There was a constant battle to make sure we didn’t get in each other’s way, But all of a sudden I could download what I want without having to check if anyone else was using the internet!”

Adam had been left without fibre broadband as areas around him were connected by commercial fibre roll outs and had been eagerly awaiting the day his cabinet went live.

“Most of my friends had fibre a long time before me and I’d recommend it as it means no waiting, no lag, and for me, there was hardly any extra cost.” He said, pausing before continuing: “I’ve noticed this as time has gone on, that rather than downloading a film to watch the following evening, I can now watch it in 20 minutes time. Rather than wasting time sitting waiting for a laptop, phone, tablet or console to update, I can have it done in five minutes and continue on with my work. It means I have more time doing what I originally wanted to do when I turned it on!”

 

 

We spoke to Paul Evans from Bridgnorth about his experience of upgrading to fibre based broadband after the Connecting Shropshire programme upgraded his cabinet in Bridgnorth.

“We were OK on the internet, I suppose.” Paul said. “But it was very slow at times. Trying to watch BBC iPlayer or stream videos was just a waste of time, it buffered constantly.”

Along with the rest of his family, Paul had been struggling with his speeds before upgrading. His son was eager to play games online but the connection didn’t allow him to make the most of it.

“The internet is such a normal part of the kids’ day to day world, if it wasn’t working it’s ‘the end of the world!’”

Paul jokes, although anyone who’s found themselves addicted to a gripping series online will know this absolutely is the case.

To keep the end of the world at bay, Paul and his family upgraded to fibre based broadband in May this year.

“There were a few teething problems but we were able to sort
them out over the phone and now we can make the most of our TV subscription. Streaming in HD just wasn’t something we could do before the upgrade, it’s great for live sport!” Paul said. “We can get up to 77meg [megabits per second] now, we even get 55 meg with the wireless. My son can now play online in HD and my daughter is permanently connected to snapchat it seems!”

Paul continued, “I’d recommend it to anybody thinking of the
upgrade. It’s costing me around £9 more a month but for what you get, and the fact that if I decided to sell my house I would be advertising we had fibre optic broadband which might just make my home easier to sell, it’s well worth it! At any one time we could have 5 people on the internet and we don’t lose any speed and can do everything we want now, it’s great.”

In May, we spoke to Steven Lewis who lives in Upper Gunnas Close in Clungunford, an area that now has access to fibre broadband.

Steven said that he’d upgraded to fibre based broadband the week before and is now enjoying download speeds of 77mbps, compared with only 2-3mbps previously. Steven upgraded with his existing internet service provider as he was mid-contract, but might shop around for a better deal when this contract expires. He commented that he found it very easy to upgrade by ordering online.

Steven’s family use the internet for online shopping, streaming live TV, online gaming and the like. When we asked Steven if he’d recommend upgrading to fibre broadband to others he said,

“Faster fibre broadband makes using the internet a much more enjoyable experience, never having to wait for pages to load” adding “once you’ve got it you’ll never look back!”

 

In the second one-on-one chat we spoke to Patrick McDermott from Market Drayton to see how things had been since his upgrade to fibre based broadband last year. (Select arrow to read more)

“I upgraded after receiving an email advising me that fibre broadband was now available and switched to the new service on 1November 2013 – the difference in speed is huge!” Patrick said. “My download speed is up to 38mbps and my upload speed is now even faster than my old download speed!”

It’s often asked what these faster speeds mean in practice for Patrick and those like him who have upgraded. For the answers, you just have to look around you at the changing face of business and society. More and more of everyday life is migrating online. Even banks, which once held centre stage in high streets, have in recent years opened up services online; where once you needed to go in person, now you can do almost all your banking securely online. The hugely improved connection Patrick now enjoys has enabled him and his wife to catch up with the shift to online services.

“I can use a much wider range of features now.” He said. “My banking, energy suppliers, telecoms accounts and many others are all now accessed online. Groceries and other online purchases are now very quick to complete – my wife and I love the speed and ease of online shopping since the upgrade.”

Patrick continued, “Just recently I renewed my road fund tax online and downloading software updates, even large file sizes, takes a fraction of the time it used to and doesn’t slow my computer down, even when I’m running several programs simultaneously.”

Here, Patrick makes a very pertinent point. An increasingly online world is demanding ever more from our internet connections, slowing down computers and making even simple tasks arduous and frustrating – and the trend is only going one way. In 2012, the Government announced their desire to transfer even more services to online only; where once jobseekers filled out a paper form with their job searches each week, they now find themselves directed online to the Government Gateway to automatically log every activity. From governments to grocers, ever more of what we do requires a reliable and speedy internet connection.

Asked what he would say to a friend, Patrick was emphatic in his reply:

“I would strongly recommend changing to the new fibre broadband service as the benefits in terms of speed and reliability are terrific! To those who have access to faster broadband, I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

 

The first in a series of one-on-one chats saw us talk to Gareth Curtis from Maesbury Marsh about his recent upgrade to fibre based broadband. Gareth is a specialised iOS Developer for Appfidelity. (Select arrow to read more)

Back in October 2013, Gareth Curtis and his wife jumped at the chance to upgrade their internet connection in Maesbury Marsh to faster fibre broadband.

“When we found out that fibre based broadband was available we signed up as soon as possible.” Gareth said. “The internet is essential to my business – and to some extent to our daily lives – so the decision was easy, especially after our experiences before the upgrade!”

In his job as an iOS Developer for his company, Appfidelity, Gareth regularly used the internet and found his frustration with his slow connection growing since his move to Shropshire in 2012.

“When we moved, we set up a connection with one of the usual big players who said we’d receive around 1mbps, but during peak times it regularly dropped to about a quarter of that.” He said, before going on to explain just what this had meant for his work.

“This meant files I needed to send and receive for work had to be planned in advance and took quite some time to transfer. This could sometimes be embarrassing if a client wanted to see something quickly. I usually left large files to transfer overnight.”

It was becoming more and more apparent to Gareth that the slow internet connection was restricting his business and holding him back – and it is a situation he’s not alone in. A study by Plymouth University and Buckman Associates on the effect fibre broadband has on small businesses found that 83% of businesses had increased productivity since upgrading.

Gareth went on to describe how fibre broadband has meant he can be much more productive in his work.

“One of the most important things for me is that I can now send and receive large work related files without having to wait one or two hours for them to transfer or worry about a usage allowance. After upgrading we now receive 8-10mbps and the difference is amazing! This is still a long way from the possible fibre speeds but for us it has changed things massively and we’re more than happy to receive that speed whilst living in a rural area.”

Away from work, the faster and more reliable connection Gareth and his wife now enjoy, allows them to stream videos and watch catch-up TV. We asked Gareth how he felt since the upgrade:

“It’s been quite a journey, but upgrading to fibre based broadband really was a great move for us. I can’t recommend changing to fibre enough; it makes a huge difference if you’re on a slow broadband connection.”