Super-surfing Cumbria park becomes local hero
Hundreds of households in south Cumbria are now able to swap their snail-speed broadband for a hyper-fast connection, thanks to a local holiday parks group.
Silverdale park near Arnside was this month switched on to ultra-speedy fibre broadband after digging over five miles of trenches across its land to access the service.
In doing so, it has enabled the community-led broadband provider B4RN to place scores of junction chambers along the route, ready for connection to surrounding properties.
It means that instead of struggling with speeds of sometimes less than one megabit, local homes can now go on-line with connections of up to a staggering 1000 megabits.
This, says B4RN, is hundreds of times faster than they could achieve on even the most efficient BT telephone line – but will actually cost families substantially less to use.
The non-profit organisation says it will also provide free connections to local primary schools and churches within reach of its junction chambers.
The Holgates group, owners of Silverdale park, recently completed a similar project at its nearby Silver Ridge park, putting many other householders within reach of supersonic broadband.
Parks owner Michael Holgate said the much greater speed will make a vast improvement to the efficiency of his business – and will be welcomed by holiday guests:
“Like many rural businesses in Cumbria, we rely on the internet to generate sales, communicate with customers, and keep our website up to date,” he said.
“Before, our online computers often managed little better than a glacial crawl – but now we’re really in the fast lane, and get better connectivity than many people in major towns and cities.
“Customers are also delighted, and now they can access amazing download speeds, and use social media to send pictures and even videos of their holiday.
“Digging the ducts for the fibre cables was a mammoth and costly task for us, but we’re thrilled that it could now prove a digital lifeline for many locally-living families,” said Michael.
Formed just over five years ago and based in Melling near Carnforth, B4RN – Broadband for the Rural North – is entirely funded by public subscription and relies on a network of volunteers.
B4RN also depends on the goodwill of businesses such as Holgates parks to give wayleaves and access for the fibre optic cabling to be installed under the ground.
“I believe that B4RN is a wonderful example of a community-led organisation which brings about many social benefits without chasing profits,” commented Michael.
“At the same time, it’s helping businesses such as ours to compete more successfully, and to sustain jobs and create more employment in local areas,” he said.
Last year, Michael’s family-owned business marked its sixtieth anniversary, and today comprises six holiday parks in the region where around 150 people work.
There is more information about Holgates parks at www.holgates.co.uk