Rural Business and Internet Divide

Well, this is the first of hopefully many attempts at blogging about Rural Business (I am not big on this), but hopefully some of you will find it very useful especially if like me you have some challenges with getting Fibre Broadband. To quantify this post, I must add that our property is on the Navenby 3 Cabinet that has been enabled to receive Fibre Broadband, Metheringham Cabinet is closer and enabled but BT can’t swap over the cabinets, but we will get to the options that have been thrown around this idea later.

The Issues

Ghouletech Ltd is located in a fairly rural location and so does not benefit from a good internet connection. On a good day, we can see speeds just topping out at 1.2Mbs download and 0.5Mbs upload (it has been as low as 0.02Mbs) with a general ping rate of 80Ms. We have Satellite internet however whilst this is speedy with up to 22Mbs download and 6Mbs upload the ping is terrible with up 800Ms response (generally around 640Ms on average), the high price of £79 per month for a 100Gb cap its good but not that good.
With the satellite Broadband, we have to switch it out during the day after 40Gb because we go into throttle which means iMessage, iCloud and other online tools other than internet browsing and email (if you use standard ports) are blocked under the FUP (Fair Usage Policy). So a usable 40Gb per month for £79, but this is by the by as we swap back over onto the slower ADSL line at around the 43Gb mark. I have thought about downgrading the service but then the FUP gets worse, I have thought about extending it into a full-blown business contract but this for the level of service starts at £299 per Month for the amount of data we require per month (if we ever want to use Amazon Prime or Netflix).

Other Solutions explored

Wireless Internet
I have looked into this with vigour and have contacted every local company that provides a wireless service, I have listed some of the more amusing replies from companies below.

AB Internet
Don’t get me wrong, these guys are very friendly and very quick to respond to your request for service. AB internet could not provide me with a home user solution so that was a flat out NO, but they could provide me with a business service but the setup cost would be £9,000 and the monthly charge would be between £250 and £450 per month (2Mbs or 10Mbs synchronous connection with a fixed IP). Little bit sad that I can’t get service from these people as I would have liked to have been a customer, because of the excellent communications they have.

I have known John Harris for the best part of 12 years, John is an awesome guy and will always go the extra mile for his customers. If I could be a customer of any company in Lincolnshire or Newark for Wireless internet its this guy. We even though after talking with one of his techs that we may be able to see at least one of two masts in the area, so at this point, I got all excited and booked a wireless survey, unfortunately, due to ground-based obstacle’s we couldn’t see the mast. Bugger, so no dice here in its current form, however, this is not the end and I will qualify this later in the blog post.

Other Wireless providers as advertised and told to approach by Onlincolnshire either did not respond or in one case the phone line was disconnected. So if it’s not listed above I would take it that they are either not taking on new clients or have gone out of business, but certainly companies I would not be doing business with. So with this, my dreams of low latency high-speed internet had died (somewhat). But alas we still have our satellite broadband for at least 10 days of the month.

Another option you are all thinking is why don’t you keep an eye on BT’s infinity rollout, or see what they can offer in way of Fibre to the Premises (FttP). This was a non starter I spoke with BT on this issue and have a quote to lay fibre to my door this would give us a 330Mb (synchronous) line all for £450 a month, here’s the catch to lay that fibre it would cost me £91,000 for digging up the road from Navenby to my property including all permits to shut roads and dig it up plus the labour. The cable would run from the Venue down Navenby High Street, up to Boothy Graffoe Lane and gown to Meg Heath. Whilst the price alone for the install is not worth it, I don’t think the locals would be on my side either for the disruption to local traffic and peoples lives just so that I could have decent internet, plus I think I would get lynched by the locals.

So where we stand today
Well as I said earlier in this post we have Sat Broadband and a sub 1Mbs (when it rains) ADSL line that we switch between. Just recently after I had the TooWay installed, OnLincolnshire started to offer grants, but I had missed out on being able to take advantage because I was already a customer and had already paid the £1300 setup and years contract up front.

JHCS has said that if I can get 20 locals interested in fast internet from them we can see about setting up a mast here and them doing the magic to connect here to the data centre, this would turn us or my personal favourite to turn the AD Plant in the shining beacon of hope for the 8 or so local houses to get low-cost high-speed internet, this is a plan and I will be in talks in the new year with JHCS in a partnering deal to get them out this way so watch this space ….

Seriously considering the options for business contracts from TooWay (Bentley Walker) on the £299 + £17.28 + VAT lines as well as some sort of acceleration technology, like the RiverBeds I installed for the Oil and Gas installations before they got upgraded to fibre (yes most North Sea oil rigs have fibre as well), yep 200 miles out in the North Sea has better internet connections than rural Lincolnshire 4 miles from either Metheringham or Navenby.

Internal to our network (which I will cover in detail in my next blog) we are running a proxy and applications cache to lessen the usage on the sat broadband as well as speed up the ADSL by making the number of external requests for frequent pages less.

I will keep you posted in 2016 on the current state of play with our internet and I am happy to answer any questions regarding satellite broadband and share my woes.