28 April 2017
For clothes retailer Rupert Bowling and his wife Sue living on the outskirts of Ashbourne, getting the right fit when it comes to fibre broadband hasn't always been straightforward.
Most homes and businesses in Derbyshire, access to better, faster broadband is provided through a green roadside cabinet located near to the property to provide a phone and internet connection.
But for a number of rural areas such as Shirley, Hollington, Ednaston and parts of Brailsford and Western Underwood, cabinets can sometimes be too far away from the house or business. This makes them unsuitable because the further the download connection has to travel, the slower the speed.
Now help is at hand for a number of properties through the Digital Derbyshire programme and a service called 'fibre to the premise' (FTTP). This technology provides a fibre-optic connection all the way from the nearest telephone pole directly to the house or business instead of from the green roadside cabinet.
After ordering the direct connection, Rupert went from receiving download speeds of 1.5Mbps to up to 200Mbps − and it took less than four weeks to set up. Rupert said:
"Having slow broadband is very frustrating − especially when you work from home. Our internet connection was so slow that websites would often crash or just not load up at all.
"We run five businesses from our house including a women's suits (opens in a new window), men's suit (opens in a new window) company a marketing consultancy and CareBubble (opens in a new window) − a new way of looking after the elderly living on their own. We rely heavily on the internet to market our businesses and to speak to our customers across the world.
"I'd seen lots of information about the Digital Derbyshire project so I contacted them for advice. The team at the county council were really helpful. They explained that I was eligible for fibre installed straight into my house and gave me lots of information about how to get it and who I needed to speak to.
"I started by contacting different internet providers and once I decided on the right package, I received the equipment the next day. An engineer came out the same week to start installing the equipment. I didn't need to stay in while the work was carried out and the process was really hassle-free."
The internet is in high-demand at the Bowling household as it is also home to Rupert and Sue's teenage daughter, Lucy. Rupert explained:
"The speed we're getting now is incredible. We can upload pictures to our websites, download attachments from emails, Skype or use online chat services to speak to our customers in Greece, America, Norway and Sweden with no interruptions.
"We also watch online training videos and we all like to use Netflix and do online shopping − there are no limits to what we can do."
The Digital Derbyshire programme is an ongoing multi-million pound partnership between Derbyshire County Council and BT and aims to give access to better, faster broadband connections to 98% of homes and businesses by the end of 2018. Rupert added:
"I'd highly recommend this service to other homes and businesses in rural areas that can access this type of technology. It's made a huge difference to the way we work and we're much more efficient now.
"Although there isn't a huge choice of internet providers that offer the service yet, it's still worth shopping around to make sure you're getting the best deal − we were lucky enough to get the latest Wi-Fi router on the market too."
If you live or work in a rural area and are struggling to access better, faster broadband contact the council's Digital Derbyshire team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 538243 for more information about fibre to the premise.
Disclaimer: Derbyshire County Council does not endorse or accept any responsibility or liability for any of the products/services provided by the businesses featured in our case studies whether written or digitally produced.
The following cabinets have recently been fibre enabled: