Our Story: Bridging the digital divide with Ultrafast Gigabit Fibre Broadband
Earlier this year, during the height of the Covid -19 pandemic, myself and my family made the move many thousands of miles back from the UAE and decided on the award winning beautiful village of Grayshott, in East Hampshire as our home. We have been overwhelmed by the community spirit here and the warm welcome that we have received.
I was born & brought up in Putney & Wimbledon, just up the A3, and have strong links there, but for the last 15 years I had been living and working as Regional Managing Director for several US Telecom companies in Dubai, serving the Middle East, South Asia & Indian Ocean. Having visited many parts of the world, and living in London, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, it has been so refreshing and we feel so fortunate to live in a part of the country where the community that acts like a true community and is so friendly. And we have been so impressed thus far with the unnerving spirit of the community as it soldiers on, despite the pandemic, and as we continually tell all our friends and family, we would not choose to live anywhere else, we have made the perfect choice.
One downside, however that we had not realised, was brought to our attention by our teenage boys who found issues with their slow online gaming and internet connection for their school Teams video calls. As we were new to the area, we told them to enjoy the garden & the wild outdoors, yet during the pandemic & lockdown I soon realised that we as a family had to ration our internet, such that if I was on a zoom call working from home, everyone else had to stop being online.
The realisation that despite the great location, peaceful surrounds, and wonderful community, we were being left behind without one of the key utilities in this modern age of communication. During the past 15 years, in my professional capacity, I have worked around the world with national telecom service providers, ISP’s and governments to help create new broadband economies and bridge their own digital divides through the creation of next generation gigabit broadband networks. What I have found is that globally we all face the same challenges, and how we can strive to change to meet these challenges are the measures of communities, and so I am utmost confident about the venture that we have embarked with Grayshott Gigabit.
Having realised that the broadband is not up to speed, despite the great efforts of Hampshire County Council to push the Superfast broadband initiative, there has been some confusion regarding what the difference between what Grayshott Gigabit will bring versus the existing services provided by ISP’s to date. Essentially, all ISP’s serving Grayshott today, are using the same underlying copper infrastructure provided by Openreach. So, other than differences in price, or Wi-Fi routers, or perhaps TV channel bundles, all the ISP’s are providing the same level of internet services. So essentially if you have a poor experience with one of your existing ISP’s of slow internet, most probably even if you switch you will have the same broadband speed experience, as the underlying copper infrastructure is the same. Superfast broadband using this Openreach network can theoretically achieve up to 80Mbps, but in reality most of us will not get those speeds as the physics of copper means that if you are living far (i.e. more than a couple of hundred metres from the cabinet), then unfortunately, your internet service will be degraded the further you live.
Copper for telecommunication has run its course, it was a pioneering medium that was founded by Alexander Graham Bell, by twisting copper pairs to form the world’s first telephone line in 1877. Yet as we start 2021, those same twisted copper pairs are on their last legs & exhausted to their capacity to try and meet the digital demands of the current age. The only alternative is to build a new network, with fibre optics.
Fibre optics are strands of glass thinner than a human hair, encapsulated in protective casing, and carry signals up to tens of kilometers, way better than data signals over copper that degrade beyond 200 metres. Each fibre optic strand can carry data over light, like a prism or rainbow, and each light wavelength can carry terabits per second of internet capacity (1 Tbps is equivalent to 1 Million megabits per second). In August 2020, the fastest recorded speed on fibre optics was recorded at 178 Terabits per second, tested at University College London.
Many of the residents in the village and surrounding areas currently get between 10-30Mbps internet bandwidth from their existing ISP’s, and the few that are very close to the cabinets will achieve speeds up to 80Mbps. With a new full fibre network, we can build the next generation network today, that can serve current & future demands. Our aim is to make Grayshott full Gigabit, by offering each resident & business up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps). The lowest package we will offer is 100Mbps, which is greater than the average speed in the UK today (64Mbps).
We aim to use our expertise to build the fastest, safest & most reliable network, that is on par with the best around the world to make sure this community advances with the best 21st century infrastructure that will last the next 100 years. Since we aim to use the existing ducts in the roads, and the phone masts that already exist, once we have the required permits, we don’t envisage needing to dig up roads to serve the majority of the villages and rural areas.
With our full fibre Ultra-Fast 1Gbps broadband service, we are on a path of acceleration, something that the government is trying to address in all parts of the country and helping with initiatives such as the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to incentivise local suppliers to build ultra-fast networks for local communities. Hence Grayshott Gigabit aims to fulfill this vision and catapult Grayshott, and surrounding areas with full fibre, that only 12% of homes & businesses in the UK have today.
We aim to support home workers, schools, care homes, and all businesses & residents with the fastest connections, to not only gain advantage of the Ultra Fast Gigabit network, but one that is managed locally, with the best on-premise support, by local teams. We have experience to offer fully managed Wi-Fi services, so that any Wi-Fi or smart home challenges, we will be able to provide peace of mind to guarantee the performance, and whole home coverage.
With Full Fibre and Ultrafast broadband, residents and businesses will not have to ration the internet, nor will have concerned teens due to latency & buffering, and everyone will be guaranteed with whole home Wi-Fi coverage that is faster than many cities like London, Dubai, or New York. It seems to me that if we get the best connectivity, living in the most wonderful setting, with great community spirit..., I for one, would rather not be anywhere else.
If you are interested, please register your interest at www.grayshottgigabit.com
Help us get the communities connected and bridge the digital divide!