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Broadband SME grants | Fast broadband for the Trillick area?

fibre-vans

Anyone who doesn’t live in a city or large town is well aware of the patchy coverage for mobile phones in rural areas and the ‘broadband lottery’ is another well-known issue.

While Trillick has access to basic broadband, by today’s standards, it’s little more than adequate at best (the old cliché about ‘trying to eat pizza through a straw’ comes to mind) and is prone to frequent problems – connections can drop several times a day.  It’s all part of an outdated attitude that sees broadband as a ‘luxury’ item – certainly, it would not be permitted to have electricity supplies that tripped out several times daily as a matter of course!

Even at its best, our ‘contestable’ local broadband capacity struggles to keep pace with modern requirements.  The speed you’re quoted is always misleadingly described as ‘up to’ whatever speed – because in practice you will never get close to that quoted speed.  Also, they only quote download speeds – this is because equally-important upload speeds are so slow that ISPs are embarrassed even to quote them.  This has obvious implications for e.g., people running a professional photography website or anyone trying to upload graphic-heavy documents (e.g., with maps and plans) to a virtual data room as part of homeworking in an office job.  If you’re a small business or homeworker and you need to have parallel capacity for web, e-mail and audio-visual tele-conferencing, you will struggle.

This has implications for numerous people – local businesses, students, homeworkers, anyone with Net TV etc.

However, there are a couple of positive developments:

First, if you are a small business, you may be eligible for a £3,000 grant to install super-fast broadband.  This started as a ‘superfast connected cities’ initiative in local cities.  While it has been now been extended to rural parts, it hasn’t been overly-publicised and, while the grants are set to finish early next year, there’s a rumour that they may be terminated earlier than that – so if you feel you could benefit, get your application in now.  To qualify, you must:

  1. Employ fewer than 250 people
  2. Have a turnover of less than €50m and/or have a balance sheet of less than €43m
  3. Have received less than €200k in public grants in the last 3 years
  4. Not operate in a sector which  is excluded from the Scheme
  5. Not have a parent company or linked enterprise which does not meet the eligibility criteria

There are no strings attached and the grant would transform your connection speed.  Depending on available technologies, your connection could be improved ten-fold, or more, at no additional installation cost.

More details here.

Second, for anyone who isn’t a small business, according to BT, local exchanges have now been ‘fibre-enabled’ (you may have seen the vans out recently) and should have fibre by early next year.

When we get better details, we’ll keep you posted.

 

 

Keep free for: Trillick Vintage Rally 3 July

Trillick Rally July 2015-page-001

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