Business Focused IT Support

Rural Broadband in 2017

by Nicki Dowsett in broadband, cabinets, Engineers, fibre optics, networking, point to point wirless, rural broadand

Government pledge to improve rural broadband

The government has made a pledge that by the end of 2020 every home and business in the UK will have the right to demand a minimum of 10mgb broadband.  It has also promised that by the end of this year (2017) 90% of the UK will have a mobile signal.  Some rural parts are still cut off from the internet and mobile signal in 2017.  I was shocked when I discovered that 1.4million homes and business in the UK still receive nowhere near this level of service.  Are you one of the people that, in some parts of the country are still subjected to dial up connection?  I vaguely remember the sound when connecting to the internet of high pitch squealing & it sends shivers down my spine. Living in an urban area I can safely say that I get super fast broadband at 70mgb, & 4G service on my mobile.

Broadband in our daily life

As a mother, and someone that works fro home my life would be so much different without fast broadband.  For example I would not be able to work from home to suit my childcare needs.  Or be able to help my son do his homework.   I often try to explain to my 5yr old that he doesn’t know how good he has it.  When I was child we had 4 channels and if we were good, we got a trip to the video shop at the weekend. We didn’t have the option to flick through the latest films or TV shows  available to download.  So many people still don’t have this luxury, that I and many others take for granted.

Urban V Rural Life

If you are reading this and think well that can’t possibly be the case, you will be surprised as I was.  One of our directors lives only 10 miles from Ashford, Kent.  He has fibre broadband in his house, for all the good that means.  Due to the distance from the local cabinet he gets 2mgb speed.  He doesn’t have the option to stream TV content simply because his broadband is not quick enough, and struggles with checking emails or working from home.

With more and more people looking for a different lifestyle and commuting to work in towns and cities this is becoming more of an issue. We all know that many are already struggling with the issues on train travel in the South East.   Many of these commuters quite often don’t have the option to work from home on the days when the trains aren’t running.  So whilst the idea of working in a city and living in the country was for a better work/home balance this isn’t always the case.

It’s not just homeowners in rural areas that are suffering

Small businesses are also struggling, unable to compete against larger corporations.  In this day and age you should be able to run a business from anywhere in the country no matter your skills or trade.  Many people run businesses from home offices or  a unit on a farm, whether it’s making furniture or running a virtual office assistant, broadband speed is paramount – customers want to look at websites and make contact by email, not pick up a phone. It’s just the way people expect to communicate today.

It is also affecting the younger generation as well.  I am really impressed with the ICT set up in my son’s school.  It’s surprising how much the internet can play a part in the school day.  If he was at a school in a rural area would he get the same benefits as a town school?  It’s very possible that some schools in rural areas have very limited connection.  So if we look at the future this lack of broadband in rural areas is also affecting our future workforce, as technology is everywhere in the workplace.

Working with Rural businesses

Here at MPR IT this is something we take extremely seriously, and hope that it doesn’t take another 3 almost 4 years for the government pledge to be completed.   Many of our customers are based in rural areas, and we have worked with a number to improve their broadband speed and connectivity to help their business. With our experienced and qualified engineers in fibre optic cabling and point to point wireless, MPR IT will ensure that we can evaluate the best possible solution for you.  See our case studies on point to point wireless and fibre optic cabling for more information on work we have carried out.  If you are suffering slow connection, don’t sit and wait for the government pledge by 2020 contact us to see how we can help you now & discuss your options to improve your business & home connections.

BBC’s Countryfile

BBC’s Countryfile recently included a report on how many parts of the country that do not have broadband.  A farmer trying to complete his tax returns or get the latest farming news from the Government was struggling with 42kb speed and as the phone lines where he lived were not always reliable even this couldn’t be relied on.  Meaning that after a frustrating 45 mins he still could not check emails for the camping side of his business.  This meant that he missed out on potential bookings and enquiries for people to pay and stay at his farm in the summer months.  I looked into this further and found another clip also by Countryfile from 2013 highlighting the same issues.  In the earlier clip it showed very similar stories and how peoples live were affected.  With rural high street banks and post offices closing, it is expected that people will use the internet for these services, when in fact these are the areas that don’t have the broadband to support these services. Nothing has changed much in the intervening years.

Both episodes, it highlighted how people living in these rural areas were trying to overcome the issues. In one a cop-operative of farmers were digging trenches in their own fields to have cables laid and cabinets installed to connect their properties and businesses, in the other it showed how the installation of point to point wireless portals could be installed on the side of a property to collect the radio waves from a radio mast 6 miles away.  In principal this is the best option without the need to lay cables and install cabinets, however there can be environmental factors which can affect your choice of how to improve your internet connection.

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