A broadband education
The village of Donaghcloney in County Down, Northern Ireland is surrounded by agricultural land and the village boasts a wide range of amenities including a school, sports clubs, shopping and churches.
Unfortunately, the one amenity missing to many of the residents was a stable, high-speed internet connection and for a teacher, David Cunningham, the arrival of fibre to the property (FTTP) broadband couldn’t have come soon enough. Having to teach from home at the start of the Covid pandemic, his existing connection was frustratingly slow and glitchy. Unable to upload files for his students or to even carry out a remote lesson, it was difficult to provide the level of support he felt was required.
A chance conversation with a friend proved to be the salvation for both his work and for his family. Following independent research, he contacted a local broadband company, Airfibre Broadband and was delighted to find out that a solution was available with funding towards the cost of installation from the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
David said: “I’d tried different internet providers but I think the copper lines are just too old and don’t have capacity for a growing town. On a good day we had a speed of 2.7 megabits per second (Mbps) but the kids couldn’t even play their consoles, let alone stream TV. I couldn’t upload files to the school server efficiently. It was impossible to work with.”
David was able to apply for a £1,500 Gigabit Broadband Voucher that covered most of the cost which he topped up by £300 for the work to be completed. From the moment the new fibre cable was connected, the signal has been stable, fast and efficient. David is paying for a regular speed of more than 30 Mbps means that the kids can play Playstation without the usual buffering and David’s wife – who has carried on working from home – can meet colleagues on video calls without issue.
David added: “I’m back at school now, but the scheme certainly helped me to deal with the challenges of teaching at home and delivering a quality education for the students. Decent broadband is a necessity in this day and age and we feel like we now have a perfect solution for our situation. I have since recommended the scheme to many other locals.”