The roll-out of superfast broadband (SFBB) by BT in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is already having an impact in the South-West.
One such company to benefit from SFBB is Truro-based Orbiss, a company that specialises in providing telecoms services and equipment to the hospitality industry. It was also the first company in the county to connect to SFBB. And the business benefits are nothing short of amazing.
“It is a massive leap forward, helping us to operate more efficiently and effectively and making an important contribution to the service we provide for our customers,” said Orbiss director Karen Patterson.
“To take one just example, we are now using superfast broadband to distribute the latest movies to our hotel customers around the UK far faster than ever before. The technology and expertise we have available allows us to operate on a national scale here in Cornwall and compete successfully with very big companies,” she said.
But it’s not just telecoms companies that benefit from SFBB. A few miles to the west of Truro lies the small village of Chacewater. The Britannia Hotel pub - a 19th century listed building in the heart of the village – was among the very first to connect to SFBB when it became available in March 2011. And for owners Michael and Sheila Owen, the benefits of SFBB are as clear as gin.
"superfast broadband has transformed what the pub can offer,” said Michael. “We are now the first superfast pub in Cornwall and because we offer free WiFi to our customers, people can experience superfast broadband first hand while enjoying a pint of real ale. Our customers have been blown away by it. They can’t believe the difference superfast broadband makes to what they can see and do on their mobile phones, for example.”
"More business people are coming in now with laptops. We have a printer on the bar and customers are welcome to use the printer free of charge. So people can drop in, do their work and print it off, while enjoying a drink or a spot of lunch."
Not only is SFBB bringing in more customers, it also helps wife Sheila run the business.
"As well as allowing us to offer a new experience to customers, superfast broadband is streamlining the business operations,” said Sheila. “Placing orders and paying bills online used to take me ages. Now I can carry out tasks that used to take the whole morning in just half an hour. That frees me up to focus on customer service."
A couple of miles west of Chacewater is the small village of Blackwater. It’s home to the Tiggers Too Day Nursery, an OFSTED approved nursery owned by Jodie Hurt and managed by Michelle Wells.
Michelle says: "We have always had bad broadband speed and since the children use the internet for sites such as CBeebies and looking for images on Google for the projects we do, we don't want our lack of download speed to slow them down."
Which is why the introduction of SFBB has proved such a big hit with the children.
"Already we have seen the benefits from a quicker connection,” said Michelle. “We have always had a nightmare contacting parents on a regular basis, but since our connection to superfast broadband we have already set up a Facebook page. Our parents can now receive regular updates about the nursery and it's quicker, easier and cheaper than sending letters home.
"The use of information and communication technology is part of the statutory framework our children learn to further their 'knowledge and understanding of the world' but we see superfast broadband as helping all of us do more," she said.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – telecoms, hospitality, or looking after young children – SFBB delivers business benefits to them all.