Technology for Rural living
Living and working in rural England is a real balancing act. On the positive side – when the weather is good, there are few finer places to be. A nice walk followed by a good pub lunch or a pint is a very British thing and one we should be proud of. Also the peace and tranquility of the countryside make it a lovely place to live with no traffic noise, less pollution, etc…
Unfortunately – from a work and business perspective, there are all too many negatives. The main one being the technical infrastructure. As technology moves forwards and workers are ‘encouraged’ to cut down on their commute by working from home and being mobile a few times a week, we need to ensure that this is a plausible option. Being able to collaborate via voice and video all whilst transferring files or being connected to a VPN needs to work ‘properly’ to support this. It only takes a few bad experiences for users to deem technology useless.
Where I live, the mobile signal is patchy at best and broadband is distinctly average. I shouldn’t complain really. I am able to get 6Mbps download speeds (occasionally) which is sufficient and much better than some other colleagues and friends get. I am still somewhat envious of my parents who have ‘superfast’ broadband and all to send a few emails a month and do some infrequent online shopping. I therefore decided to do some digging.
Where I live, there is a single carrier in the local exchange (BT Wholesale). We have been enabled for ADSL and ADSL Max. There are no LLU operators or fibre connections available. By the way, all of this information is available via the SamKnows website: http://www.samknows.com/broadband/broadband_checker. Just type in your phone number and postcode and all the necessary details will be displayed. The next task is to find out if an upgrade has been planned for your local exchange. You can find these details here.
Now that I know I am limited for choice and there are no upgrades planned – what are my options? Well – if I really want ‘superfast broadband’ – I can fill out a form and encourage my neighbours and the entire village to follow suit (might put something in the local magazine). The form is located here:
There are also links within that website explaining what the government and local councils are doing for rural areas. Unfortunately – looking at the planning for fibre, it’s a 15 month process at best and involves a lot of digging to get fibre to each premises.
During this investigation, I did stumble upon ADSL2+ and what it could possibly mean.
ADSL2+ could provide broadband speeds of up to 24Mbps for houses within a 3km distance of the local exchange. Over that distance and the line speed and quality diminishes substantially. The local exchange needs to be upgraded though to BT’s 21CN network but delivery to customer premises is over copper. This seems the faster (in all senses!) way of getting a better line speed for me. At an approximate 1100 metres from the exchange – I could be looking at 20Mbps!
So my investigation continues as to how I can speed up getting my local exchange upgraded to ADSL2+ and improve my work/home technology capabilities.