Up to 20% of UK residents and business owners are still experiencing a detrimental lack of access to fast, reliable internet connectivity simply because of their rural locations.
To help slow down the accelerating digital divide between rural dwellers and their urban counterparts, Hull-based broadband provider Quickline Communications has been awarded the Connected Lincolnshire Superfast Phase 3 Programme by Lincolnshire County Council and Building Digital UK (BDUK).
The initiative is set to cover 8,000 premises that have been either left out of commercial builds or previous Government broadband programmes.
“People in our region are losing business, students’ studies are being hindered and families are having difficulties staying in touch with loved ones because they’re being let down by sub-par broadband.
“Having access to the internet should not be determined by where you live. In today’s society it is a necessity and we’re really pleased to be working with Lincolnshire County Council to dramatically improve the area’s digital infrastructure,” Hayley Silvester, Engagement Director at Quickline Communications, explains.
“A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always a viable solution, at Quickline we do things differently to ensure fast, reliable internet connectivity is available to all. We use a combination of technologies – fibre and fixed wireless – to achieve the best result possible, which is ultrafast speeds and, in most cases, gigabit-capable speeds (1000mbps)” added Hayley.
In order to increase prosperity in the county, the Quickline and Lincolnshire County Council partnership is quite literally getting people back up to speed. With lockdown restrictions being eased and staycation bookings set to hit an all-time high this year, East Lincolnshire-based Helsey Farm Cottages is one business seeing the benefits of Quickline’s ‘Gigabit’ package.
Its owners, Debbie and Bryan Willson, run holiday lets, alongside a livery and an on-site educational centre, which is supported by the National Farmers Union. Debbie said: “Prior to Quickline we couldn’t even do the basics such as internet banking or joining an online meeting, that’s how poor our connection was.
“The big-name providers didn’t want to help because of our countryside location and when trying to run a business that relies on connectivity, we felt completely at a loss for what to do.
“The installation of Quickline has been a wonderful lifeline for us, as it has opened doors that have previously been firmly shut,” Debbie continued. “Our customers can enjoy the beautiful rural location, but at the same time ‘stay connected’ whether that’s streaming their favourite shows, uploading to social media channels and in some cases keeping in touch with work whilst away.
“From a personal point of view, it’s brought us closer to our community network, which is incredibly important as we support each other and of course, it’s made day-to-day life so much easier.
“It’s a weight off our shoulders seeing the proactive response from Quickline and Lincolnshire County Council to meet our needs. Our expectations have been surpassed beyond measure.” Debbie added.
Stephen Brookes, Programme Manager at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The last 12 months have been a true test of digital agility for families and businesses, which for many out-of-town properties has created unsustainable pressure points.
“In order to aid Lincolnshire’s recovery as successfully as possible following the pandemic, it’s fundamental that our residents, local businesses and public services have the support and necessary infrastructure to move forward. Together with Quickline, we’re closing this digital divide, and we are fully committed to introducing as many options as possible to make sure our rural villages and communities are not left behind.”
To register interest in what broadband services are available, please visit Connected Lincolnshire at www.connectedlincolnshire.co.uk/register. For more details on Quickline, head to www.quickline.co.uk and www.helseycottages.co.uk to make at booking at Helsey Farm Cottages.