As a family, we felt very isolated as mobile signals still don’t reach the Pishill Valley – with ultrafast broadband we can receive 305Mbps!
Thank you Ingemar, for sharing these life-changing examples about how ultrafast broadband has benefitted you and your family. The Digital Infrastructure Team are delighted to receive your case study and to share this with visitors to our website.
Please read the full account of Ingemar’s experiences below:
Pishill is a small community in the Chilterns where historically, very few people could survive as rainwater had to be collected and stored as the groundwater supply is very far down in the chalk. It must had been revolutionary for the residents when water pipes were put in place and households did not have to use their Chiltern rainwater tanks!
On the 17th July 2018, we had a similar revolution when the Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme committed to invest in the Pishill community, so we could receive ultrafast internet through Fibre-to-the-Premise, directly to our property. It was back in 2012, when I set-up my own design studio Speckled Design, that the plan was devised to work from home. Three months in and our unreliable 0.20Mbps internet ceased, as we were one of the last houses on the internet line and the old copper cables that were in place could not support the bandwidth. As I had to continue working, I installed satellite internet. This type of connection was fine for downloads (10Mbps) but incredibly slow for uploads (0.20 Mbps); there was also a long delay latency between sending and receiving files. Therefore, this meant that any two-way communication such as Skype calls and video conferences were impossible.
As my business relies on both sending large CAD, picture files and video conferencing, I had to use my car daily to drive into our local town, Henley-on-Thames and sometimes further afield to Reading, in order to connect to faster internet. As a result, I used to spend many hours at various cafes and libraries and at one point, I had to make an arrangement with one company in Reading so that I could use their offices to run conference calls!
As a family, we felt very isolated as mobile signals still don’t reach the Pishill Valley, which meant that my two daughters did not have internet or mobile connection whilst growing up. I must say, that our worries were mainly around their ability to do online schoolwork and as technology, such as Google Classroom became more advanced, they would often have to stay on at school to use the internet as it would be impossible to complete this at home. There was a general assumption that everyone else had the internet, which only made us feel even more isolated. After finishing school, my eldest daughter moved to Australia to row in her gap year. When she had been there a month, we finally started to receive ultrafast internet, which meant that we could FaceTime for the first time ever and could also livestream her rowing competitions.
As a furniture designer, I work closely with a design studio in Sweden and used to fly there regularly. However, since ultrafast internet was introduced, I now manage to complete most tasks over the internet with both video conferencing and also by collaborating on shared screens. This has enabled me to take part in new developments and some of the new CAD programs are only cloud based, so without ultrafast internet, they would be impossible to access.
My wife works as a secondary school teacher and used to have to stay late at school in order to use the internet, particularly when she needed to use the school’s system in order to record students’ results and reports. However, now the school has provided her with a laptop, she can connect to the school’s system from home. During these unprecedented times with the Coronavirus, she has been able to carry on teaching through Google Virtual Classroom and receive all student work quickly.
It is not only in our work and communication where we have experienced so many positive changes, but also leisurely, such as watching television. We now have all the flexibility to watch catch-up and connect to programmes such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime as well as accessing music, Podcasts and a world of current affairs and on-line information platforms. I can’t praise Craig Bower from Oxfordshire County Council enough, as he was pivotal to the installation of ultrafast broadband in the Pishill Valley. I think having internet access is just as important as water and electricity; it’s priceless!