Architect, George Simpson, moved back to the rural north of Scotland to continue a long and successful career to work for a company in Aberdeen as the group architect. His first project was to convert a redundant factory into the group headquarters whilst at the same time, converting an old watermill into a new home.
As with many rural locations, however, connectivity was a compromise with supply provided by a copper telephone line resulting in an unstable and slow internet connection. Needing wi-fi to run his business, George was understandably frustrated by the slow speed.
He explained: “On a good day I could achieve a download speed of 2 megabits per second (Mbps) but normally it was between 1 and 1.5 Mbps which was barely sufficient to complete the simplest work tasks.”
George even resorted to getting in his car and driving up a nearby hill to obtain a mobile phone signal to transfer files at a cost of £10 per file.
At the point where a local community group got together to consider a satellite network to improve connectivity, George noticed Openreach was working down from the main road to install gigabit-capable fibre cables along the series of telegraph poles. Shortly afterward, a neighbour emailed to ask George to consider signing up for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which meant that he would be eligible for £3,500 to cover the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband. Installation was halted for a while due to the Covid pandemic but George was eventually connected in July 2020 with transformative results.
He added: “Now I have a stable connection with vastly improved download speeds of more than 70 Mbps. File transfers take a matter of minutes and I can open several websites at once. I have discovered the joy of Zoom and Microsoft Teams which has enabled me to undertake client meetings – even in Azerbaijan of all places – which would have been impossible before. Telephony is now through BT cloud phone and I can offer a better service to my clients and I have improved the efficiency of my own business. It does cost a bit more for the speed I need, but it is a big, big benefit.”