Bringing Superfast Broadband to Lower Wensleydale

Overview and Background:

Ellingstring is a remote hamlet, high on a hill in stunningly beautiful Lower Wensleydale, part of the renowned North Yorkshire Dales. For many an ideal place to live, visit and stay but with one marked exception - poor broadband speed and reliability.  That changed in February 2015 when, through the tenacity of a local company, Ellingstring was given access to superfast broadband via fixed wireless technology.

The approach: 

Gerry Smith, a local resident for 16yrs, explains;

"Despite the false hopes of some, it has always been the stark reality that Ellingstring would never receive respectable broadband speeds by conventional means. The small exchange serving many of the hamlets and isolated farms in the area is a considerable distance from all properties and was only upgraded in c2006 to normal ADSL2 broadband, following a grant.  Even if fibre was later installed to the exchange, which I doubt it ever will, the distance to the majority of individual consumers is far too great to provide any real benefit.

"Whilst being initially ecstatic when the exchange was converted to ADSL2 and gave us speeds varying between 0.5mbs and 1.75mbs, web design and digital technology continued and will continue to march on.  Thus, such low speeds will very soon deny us of so many things taken for granted elsewhere.  Understandably the minority UK population will not be catered for.  There are also other penalties, including some in Ellingstring forced to commute many miles to their individual company offices because the low broadband speeds prevented them working from home.  At least one house sale fell through because the potential purchasers needed to work from home on decent broadband - the list goes on.

"Ellingstring now has true superfast broadband, thanks to Crabtree Community Broadband Ltd who by far exceeded everybody's expectations and quickly dissolved any previously held doubts about wireless technology.  The installations were very professional and only a very small device, about the size of a phone handset, indicates recipient homes.  Over the first operational month the system received the full acid test of 'white out' snow storms, thick fog, high winds and rain, yet it never once faltered.  Such now is the confidence in the system a number of residents are in the process of cancelling their landlines and conventional telephones and moving to Voice over Internet."

              

The outcome: 

"From a personal perspective, I seriously wonder how I once managed without superfast broadband; basic tasks on the internet and email, which were slow and a chore, are now a silky smooth pleasure.  I once spent the best part of a day emailing urgent legal documents, containing photomontages, in bite size chunks because of their enormous file size; that now can be done in minutes.  It is now also possible to watch streaming videos and the likes of BBC iPlayer without constant freezing and buffering, not just on one device at a time but two or more simultaneously - a whole new experience and world has been opened up.     

"There were yet other added bonuses; Crabtree Community Broadband is a local company which provides a true personal service, yet it is backed-up with the full technical support of ITS, a sizable UK company with considerable experience in fixed wireless technology - ITS can even monitor, detect and possibly rectify faults remotely."