Frustrated by slow or non-existent broadband in our area and negative feedback from local people, Michelle Donelan – Member of Parliament for Chippenham – has taken action to show how a satellite broadband service solves the problem for a family in her constituency. Michelle worked with Avonline Broadband to install a demonstration Avanti satellite broadband service for the Hillier family from Corsham in Wiltshire. It will provide them, for the first time, with access to a reliable, previously unattainable Internet connection for personal use and to run their small businesses more effectively. The benefits that the Hilliers now experience demonstrate what is possible using fast, reliable satellite broadband services that are available today to thousands of similarly unconnected UK homes.
The Internet service is based on readily available Avanti Communications satellite broadband technology that has been installed by Avonline Broadband. As part of the British Government’s satellite broadband subsidy scheme, led by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), other local constituents in their rural community can benefit from a £350 installation voucher for satellite broadband. Any consumer can apply for a voucher by visiting their county council website or talking to Avonline, and get up to 30Mbps Superfast broadband.
The Hillier family run a 600 herd cattle farm and B&B business, and have been hampered by a very slow, unreliable Internet connection until their satellite broadband service was recently installed. They now experience speeds of up to 14.5Mbps, which is already greater than the Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps that is likely to be introduced across the UK.
The Hillier family is benefitting in many ways. For example, they can now update passports for the 600 cattle on their farm on the British Cattle Movement Service website. This legal requirement was previously a time consuming and unreliable online process. Guests staying at Hillier’s Norbin Farm B&B, who previously departed early from long term visits due to a lack of Internet, have also benefitted from reliable broadband. The Hilliers can also now update room availability, which is fundamental to running a successful B&B business. Previously, Gill Hillier had to travel to a café in a neighbouring village to manage the website and bookings.
Gill Hillier, mother and small business owner, said: “We’ve struggled for years with either no broadband or an infuriatingly slow connection. The relief in our household, both personally and as owners of two small businesses, when our satellite broadband came on line was profound. Like many people, I wasn’t aware of this means of connecting to the Internet. However, I’d now encourage my neighbours and other local people without fast, reliable Internet to take advantage of the free £350 voucher and have satellite broadband installed.”
Michelle Donelan, Member of Parliament for Chippenham, said: “Broadband internet is no longer a luxury but essential most peoples’ lives and for the success of their businesses, both small and large. There is no reason why constituents in rural areas should not have such services just because of where they live. Broadband should now be treated in the same way that water and energy are. Satellite broadband is a reliable way of delivering a fast internet service to rural areas. My constituents can take advantage of Government support for this, and the free £350 installation voucher, to get satellite broadband services. I sincerely hope that the Hilliers are just one of many households who are able to change their lives and businesses.”
Craig Penfold, Chief Commercial Officer of Avanti, said: “Affordable, reliable satellite broadband with speeds of up to 30Mbps is available to 100% of UK households now. Our work with MPs, such as Michelle, shows how easy it now is for families and businesses to benefit from superfast broadband, and to access financial support for it from their county council.”
Mark Wynn, Managing Director of Avonline, said: “Changing perceptions with consumers and businesses on the reliability and affordability of satellite broadband is important if the UK is to connect every household to high speed broadband by 2020. Families, such as the Hilliers, are discovering the immediate benefits that satellite technology can provide, having given up on a reliable Internet connection from other sources. We guarantee 100% UK coverage and typically get people installed in about a week from order.”