After one frustrated Oxfordshire home-worker was told by her broadband provider that they were unable to improve the Internet speeds in her area, the opportunity to upgrade to a new ultrafast fibre optic network was too good a chance to turn down.
As administrator for Oxfordshire Artweeks, a significant proportion of Jo Golding’s (45) job entails downloading hundreds of artist images over a six week period then uploading them on-line.
As a home worker however, Jo’s work was at the mercy of an existing copper based broadband network that made the download process extremely time consuming and often frustrating.
Jo also experienced RSI discomfort which she put down to the high levels of repetitive screen navigation required to check and restart stalled downloads.
“On a good day our broadband speed was 2Mbps but it could drop to a painful 0.5Mbps in the evenings or when the weather was bad” says Jo. “As well as being inefficient and frustrating from a work perspective, we were unable to use Internet services such as BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
I pestered our broadband provider for a better service but they said that these slow speeds were the best they could offer in our area.”
When rural broadband provider Gigaclear announced its intention to install an ultra-fast fibre optic network in the village, the Goldings jumped at the opportunity to sign up. Jo continues:
“As well as benefiting from the Internet on a day-to-day basis ourselves, we were aware of the impact Internet speeds can have on property prices. When we moved from one part of the village to another, Internet speeds were always one of the first questions asked by viewers of the property we were marketing. We even had a potential buyer pull out when they heard how slow the broadband speed was at the time.”
Installing Gigaclear was straightforward. The Goldings’ opted to install the fibre and router themselves which saw Jo dig her own 10 metre trench in which to run the fibre from the Gigaclear network directly to her property.
“Installation was dead easy and took us less than an afternoon to connect,” she adds.
The new network has transformed Jo’s working day. Images and large attachments are now downloaded instantaneously, bringing new efficiencies as Jo explains:
“Previously, if I had 30 images emailed to me over night as large attachments, I’d find myself having a coffee while I waited for a download to complete. Now I can access the content immediately without interruption. My wrist pain has also vanished as I no longer have to repeatedly scroll through documents and screens whilst waiting for the download to complete.”
It’s not just Jo’s work that has benefited from the new broadband network. Her teenage son is able to use the Internet for homework purposes. For example, one exercise required him to navigate through a French supermarket’s website while for another, he had to provide an image of a bridge that had recently been bombed.
“The old network would have made these homework exercises virtually impossible to complete in time as he could only do this in the evenings and at those times the network was even slower,” says Jo. “Now, not only can homework be satisfied but there’s also time to enjoy the other features of the Internet that were impossible before such as gaming or downloading music.”
“Gigaclear has enabled us to use the Internet as it was intended, not staring at a frozen screen for hours on end. Now we can have multiple Internet enabled devices running simultaneously with no drop in service. I think if we lost our broadband service now, it would be an absolute shock to the system.”