Spaldwick village has seen record take up of high-speed fibre broadband since it arrived in July 2014 – thanks to the efforts of the local broadband champion.
Broadband champion Mark Heath has recently received a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister recognising his voluntary work campaigning for better broadband, sorting out connection problems and helping people get online.
As well as running the village website and recording local events in photos and videos, Mark helps older people, who are members of the Welcome Club to gain confidence using the Internet.
Mark say: “I’ve been helping villagers for many years with their broadband problems, and the arrival of superfast broadband is a fantastic development for the local community. It’s the best feeling in the world when you are able to sort out a problem or when you see people really excited about what they can now do on the Internet.
“In many ways, older residents are now leading the way with superfast broadband. Some members are regularly using Skype video telephony to keep in touch with grandchildren, and YouTube and iPlayer are amazingly popular.
“We have many families with working parents who travel significant distances to work. Superfast broadband is transforming their lives. One mother had to travel to London every day and, by the time she arrived home, her young children were already asleep. Now, with fibre broadband, she is able to work from home for several days a week. The smile on her face instantly tells you the difference it has made to her life.
“When you start to add up all the individual stories, you realise the incredible impact superfast broadband can have on a community.”
Read what being able to get superfast broadband means for some of the residents and businesspeople in Spaldwick below.
Mark is one of 120 Broadband Champions across the county, who are supporting the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme by keeping their communities informed and helping people to upgrade to fibre broadband when it arrives in their area.
Could you be a champion for your community? Find out more on our Getting Involved page.
What difference does faster fibre broadband make?
Lisa co-owns a team building event company. “Our website is critical to securing business from across the globe. With superfast broadband, we’ve been introducing leading-edge multimedia content to differentiate ourselves from our aggressive global competitors.”
Aged over 80, John produces Spaldwick’s monthly newsletter and was one of the very first villagers to order superfast broadband. “Superfast broadband is certainly much faster, and enables me to do what I want to much more quickly.”
Mick and his family rely on the Internet for many different types of services, including TV, Internet radio and gaming. “ I am sure that estate agents now see broadband speed as a key selling point, as it’s a 21st century essential.”
With a young family, Pete welcomes faster Internet connections: “Speed tests have reported a download speed of 35 Mbps, so I am very happy! I am grateful for the fantastic efforts in getting fibre to the village.”
Jason works full time, as does his wife Keren: “Having superfast broadband at home is a game changer. I can now avoid three hours of travelling per day and manage my team with the same connectivity as being in the office.”
Yasmin is an international interior designer who relies on online marketing, blogs and Twitter: “High-speed Internet is vitally important for my business as I research thousands of images every month and need to work quickly to make the best use of time.”
Darrell runs Number 12 – Spaldwick’s village shop and deli – with his wife Maud and uses websites, online ordering and Facebook to reach new customers. “Superfast broadband is allowing me to manage my online activities much more quickly and incorporate videos.”
Vicky has a young family whose use of the Internet is typical of many families within the village. “With fast broadband speeds now, all of my family can use the Internet at the same time. So we can download songs, watch movies, play games and do the weekly online grocer shop all at the same time! Perfect!!”
Anita is retired and uses the Internet to keep in touch with family and friends: “I use Skype video calling to keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world, including Australia, and it’s great to keep in contact with my grandchildren. Broadband is so much faster than it was before.”
Teenager George has welcomed faster connections. “Superfast broadband lets me stream sports events in HD, such as football and NBA matches and I can download music, apps and films to my portable devices effortlessly. It also make homework more efficient and ‘hassle free’.”
Finance Director Krista travels to work in London by train, which means that she gets home late in the evening. “With a very young family, I’ve been keen to try to work from home more. The arrival of superfast broadband is finally allowing me to better balance the needs of my work and my family and couldn’t have come soon enough!”