Gavin Keeble and his wife Belinda run a corporate training business from a remote dale in Cumbria.
When they moved in three years ago the broadband service in Grisedale was around 8 Megabits per second (Mbps) via an unstable microwave broadband service. It was unreliable especially in bad weather, ran on battery back-up and would drop out when there were any low flying RAF planes doing training flights along the dale.
Having heard that a local internet service provider called B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) might be able to help to improve the service, Gavin and a small group of residents began the task of approaching more than 150 residents in the area to see if they would be happy to take part in a community broadband scheme.
The B4RN community build model asks the community to organise the dig to bury the fibre cabling to keep costs to the minimum necessary. By using the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme they were able to access guaranteed funds towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband for 121 homes and 56 business.
Connected since September 2019 the Keebles have been enjoying 1,000 Mbps uploads and download speeds with unlimited data for less than a third of the price they were paying before.
At work they can access any digital service of any sort, and currently use it for online telephony (VOIP), mobile phones using wifi calling, video conferencing, security, cloud storage, banking, accounting systems, their CRM database and digital design. In their down time they can stream movies and music, upload local weather data and talk to their family overseas.
Gavin commented: “The difference that the new service has made is completely cosmic. It has given us total peace of mind connecting to the outside world and running an international business from a beautiful and remote part of the UK and dramatically improved our businesses professionalism and capability as well as transforming our family life. I love the fact that we have immeasurably better internet than all our friends and even people and businesses in central London.”