Connecting Shropshire

What fibre can do for your business!

 

You expect your business to work efficiently. You expect your colleagues to be reliable and not let you down when you need them. You don’t expect to be kept waiting by colleagues or clients. So why expect less from your broadband?

Fibre for your business not only means your connection meets these expectations, but surpasses them. If you’re considering upgrading your office or workplace to fibre broadband, here are a few things that fibre can allow you and your colleagues to take full advantage of.

Make the most of your time

The higher download and upload speeds of fibre compared to copper means that sending and receiving data, even large files such as videos, can be done quickly and efficiently. Especially for businesses that regularly need to upload and send large files, this increased efficiency frees up time to increase working capacity and productivity.

Cloud Computing

For small businesses especially, there are big benefits of Cloud Computing. It allows for much greater flexibility for a business as you often only pay for what is needed for each individual. There is plenty of information on the technical side of how it works, but in quick and simple terms an organisation’s data and software applications are hosted remotely in a data centre.
With the reliability and speed of a fibre broadband connection, using Cloud Computing is easier and more widely available to a business than traditional data storage. By opening up the possibility of using Cloud based systems, fibre can actually help a business reduce costs.

Communications

Taking advantage of internet based communication tools, such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), can reduce a business’s telephony bills – saving money. Advances in internet based communications now mean that it’s possible to manage call routing, voicemail and hold video conference calls.  High-quality conference calls, especially video conferencing, can reduce the need for face to face meetings and cut down on travel time and costs – again, by improving the quality of the broadband to facilitate these communication methods, a business can reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Do It Digital

Do It Digital is a campaign to share, signpost and celebrate all things that help small businesses get more out of digital.

It is an independent, not-for-profit campaign that looks to highlight resources around the UK, online and off, that can help small businesses take the next step in digital, what ever their current level of skill and engagement may be.

See: https://doitdigital.co.uk/index.aspx

The Do More Online campaign

The Campaign aims to help small business get some digital skills to find more customers, be more efficient, and save  money.

See: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/domoreonline/

Business case studies (click on each heading to expand)

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

When we asked co-owner David Phillips if upgrading to fibre broadband is something he’d recommend, he said: “It can only be a good thing, so for me it was an obvious decision. It’s not costing us any more than standard broadband and we’re getting a much better service for our money. Add this to the opportunity fibre broadband brings, it’s a no-brainer!” To read more, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2016/04/case-study-hundred-house-hotel-Norton/

Corve Barn Farm

We 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. Click on this link to find out more: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/2015/12/case-study-wireless-broadband-in-the-corvedale/

The Old Rectory B&B, Broseley

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.

The Old Rectory in Broseley, a 5 Star B&B, upgraded to fibre broadband as soon as they learnt of its availability as part of the Connecting Shropshire programme. We met with owner, David Hoyle, who said: “During the 11 years we’ve been running, there has been a growing expectation from our guests of a strong and reliable broadband connection. Prior to upgrading, we were only getting speeds less than 8mbps so needless to say, we upgraded as soon as we had access to the network. Now we consistently average 38mbps.”

David Hoyle, owner of The Old Rectory B&B

David continued: “Before upgrading, we had problems with signal strength and would receive complaints from guests, predominantly business people, unable to access the internet to work from their rooms. For this reason, we tended to avoid targeting the business market. Since upgrading to fibre, however, we have received no complaints and some guests have returned 6 or 7 times, so it has really boosted our customer loyalty.”

To read the full story, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/?p=2154

Morris Corfield, Broseley & Craven Arms

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.

We met their IT Director, Oliver Morris, to see how they have benefited from the switch: “As a business, the main difference has been the faster upload speeds,” Oliver explained. “Here in Broseley we’re pushing download speeds of 30mbps now, and our Craven Arms site is regularly seeing speeds of up to 60mbps, but the upload speed has risen from 0.5mbps to 8mbps.

Oliver Morris, IT Director

Oliver went on to say: “We used to experience time consuming little problems and while these problems didn’t stop us working, they did slow us down. Thankfully we’ve not had any of those issues in the six months since we upgraded to fibre.” A prime example is that our service staff synchronise their laptops to the manufacturer’s data on a weekly basis. Previously, when two or three of them tried to do this at the same time, it was quite a slow and painful process. Since upgrading, it is a lot quicker and much more reliable. So upgrading has certainly quickened previously time consuming processes.”

To read the full story, go to: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/?p=1996

Severn Partnership and Seeable, Bayston Hill

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

Hobsons Brewery, Cleobury Mortimer

Hobsons Brewery 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/

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 Haughmond, Upton Magna

We recently visited Melanie Board, landlady at The Haughmond, Upton Magna to talk about how upgrading to fibre broadband has affected the business. The site has recently been transformed into a “modern coaching inn” and as well as being a pub and brasserie, offers visitors a new village store, coffee shop and five luxury ensuite rooms.

In this short YouTube video, Melanie talks about the business and the role that fibre broadband has in its smooth-running, click this link to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYkmbXau1_c

Fibre optic broadband enables businesses to become more competitive by accessing technologies that are likely to reduce costs and improve productivity. Faster broadband can also facilitate mobile & home working, and makes all online activity faster and more efficient.

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!

 

Shropshire-based Internet Service Providers

Women and Broadband project

Shropshire Council (via Connecting Shropshire) successfully applied to Broadband Delivery UK and the Government Equalities Office for £146,000 to run a Women and Broadband project in the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Staffordshire County Council areas. The grant covered all project costs and the project operated until March 2016.

The aim of the project was to inspire and enable women to take advantage of faster broadband to start-up a business or to grow and improve an existing business.

Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE), based at Harper Adams University, was appointed to deliver the project. WiRE delivered a series of events around the Shropshire Council area and women attending the events have been supported up to and beyond the end of the project by peer mentors appointed from Wire’s own network.

To find out how attendees got on, click the following link: Case studies – Women and broadband project

For more details go to: http://www.wirechallenge.org/events/

Optimising Business Broadband (OBB)

The Optimising Business Broadband project is helping businesses to exploit available fibre based technologies and to make an informed business case for the level of their investment in fibre broadband services.

To find out more, watch this short video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUWCe_HMCsY