Far too many rural homes and businesses have been left stuck with cripplingly slow connectivity for years - and with no prospect of improvement any time soon.
Here's how we brought three years of slow broadband limbo to an end for one Hampshire-based family.
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National Broadband ends broadband nightmare for Shedfield family by connecting them to reliable broadband
James Polansky, headmaster at a local school in Hampshire suffered through three years of cripplingly slow landline broadband well below the national minimum standard of 10Mbps. This lack of digital connectivity meant he and his family found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide which significantly impacted both their personal and professional lives.
A fibre-based solution to his broadband issues was simply not an option for James's rural property in the village of Shedfield. Due to its location, not only was his home too far away from a streetside cabinet but it was also serviced by old copper lines, with both these factors meaning that his landline was just not usable to supply higher speed internet connectivity. As might be expected, his neighbours also experience similar problems.
This unfortunately is not an isolated issue. According to Ofcom there are over 1,000 homes in the Winchester local authority area alone with no access to national minimum standard broadband speeds of 10Mbps. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of those (918) are located in rural areas, again highlighting the fact that the Digital Divide is an issue which significantly affects rural communities across the country. In fact, properties in rural parts of the UK are seven times more likely to be unable to access the national minimum standard for broadband when compared to their urban counterparts, according to Ofcom's latest figures.
The impact of almost unusable broadband speeds had on James and his family's lives was profound. As headmaster at the Boundary Oak School in Fareham, the pandemic completely turned his working life upside down and massively increased his reliance on his home broadband service. Sadly, the frustratingly slow broadband speeds that James experienced while at home meant that he was frequently forced to travel into school to take part in important video meetings, host classes via Zoom and complete other simple online tasks. Research from National Broadband revealed that almost a third of workers in the UK were forced to commute into work due to poor broadband speeds.
His provider at the time, EE, attempted to supply a solution to his broadband woes. However, within weeks of installing this, the connection fell back to previous speeds and James and family were again left struggling with intermittent and slow broadband. By now, James was desperate for a solution and found rural broadband specialists National Broadband. The rural broadband provider installed a 4G antenna solution as well as a mesh system to ensure fast and reliable broadband plus great WiFi was available throughout his home, transforming his speeds to well over 20Mbps.
James Polansky commented: “We really struggled with our broadband connection for some time and finally having reliable broadband has proved to be a real game changer, not only for me but the whole family. National Broadband provided great advice throughout the whole process and the installation from the antenna to the mesh system was completely seamless.”
David Hennell, Business Development Director, National Broadband added: “The provision of fast and reliable broadband to rural communities is all too often overlooked, leaving many families like the Polansky family forced to look for alternative solutions. This 'Digital Divide' has a major real-world impact on people - if a home or business has no access to a good internet connection, such disadvantage is going to be genuinely damaging to those affected.
He continued: “The government has clearly got its priorities wrong. It is currently investing hundreds of millions of pounds to subsidise the provision of even faster connections to homes and businesses in more populated areas, all of which already have more than adequately fast broadband. Instead it should first target those areas of greatest need. It must consider cost-effective and very quickly deployable alternative broadband delivery technologies to provide higher speed broadband to digitally disadvantaged rural communities and so prevent the Digital Divide from widening even further.”
The above case study originally appeared on the website of our parent company, National Broadband Ltd