FTTP: Connecting rural communities
The post-election focus on fibre has ramped up at the highest levels of government. From telecoms firms meeting at number 10, changes in legislation and proposals to make regulation more flexible, contractors around the UK are assembling to build the UK’s full fibre network. But what kind of difference does it make to the end consumer?

In their 2019 report, Ofcom found the average download rate rose from 46.2Mbps to 54.2Mbps but the gap between urban and rural areas had worsened. A typical example was Rumburgh, a small Suffolk village that suffered one of the worse connections in the country.

“We were lucky to get half a 1 Mbps, most of the time it was even less than that.” says Joe Moore, an IT Support Technician and Rumburgh resident. Such poor speeds made it impossible to utilise the internet in ways many of us take for granted, from watching videos online, working from home, paying bills or accessing online documentation.

The Better broadband for Suffolk (BB4S) programme was born out of these frustrations following several commercial upgrades in urban areas. The project, which was funded by Suffolk County Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, secured FTTP for the village which has a population of 350 people.  Residents can now boast 330Mbps which has drastically improved the way they utilise technology in their homes and businesses.

“Before the upgrade my Dad wasn’t interested in the Internet at all because it was essentially unusable.” says Joe. “Since we got FTTP he’s got a smart TV and is always watching videos on YouTube. He’s also bought an internet radio so we can listen to stations from all over the world.”

Broadband internet is now being touted as the 4th utility. Like water, gas and electric, it’s something we’re becoming increasingly dependent on. It’s also a means to better connect our communities, which is particularly important for rural areas which are naturally more isolated due to their geography.

Our community of fibre contractors (and the ones who are yet to join) are at the forefront of this change. Fibre workers are the unsung heroes of the full fibre roll out. They’re out in all weathers, in busy cities and remote villages, to help people like Joe’s dad better connect with the rest of the world.

“We have a lot of devices in our home now that are connected to the internet including Alexa devices, smart bulbs and CCTV. Having a better connection through FTTP has really improved our quality of life in lots of little ways.”

Do you have the fibre skills to make a difference to rural communities like Joe’s? We have lots of Work Opportunities working direct across the UK. Check out the Pickr app for full details.

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