IT consultant Richard Hale has slashed his annual commute by more than 20,000 miles, saving thousands of pounds a year in travel costs – thanks to the Broadband East Riding programme.
Self-employed Richard said the broadband speeds previously available at his home in Bridlington forced him to make a 140 mile commute to offices in York and Leeds to connect with clients.
But the arrival of superfast broadband as part of the Broadband East Riding roll-out has enabled him to stay put, ditch his long commute and work from the family home serving customers around the globe.
He said: “I have been able to make huge savings in terms of money and time spent on travelling. But it’s not just that, being online is crucial for my job and I just couldn’t rely on my old home broadband. Without the arrival of fibre I would eventually have had to move location, to York or somewhere I could get a faster connection.”
The dad of five, who helps to manage data centres for large companies including banks and insurance companies based around the world, said a reliable fast broadband connection is vital to working effectively.
Richard said: “The vast majority of my work is done via remote online access to company’s networks so I can monitor and respond to issues or problems with their data systems. Once I’m logged into their networks they can see I’m online and available to respond to any issues as they come up.”
Richard, who signed up to superfast the day it became available, said he had previously been struggling with speeds of around 5Mbps, but was now getting online ten times faster.
“On my old broadband line the connection would occasionally fail, so if I was responding to a client’s network problems I would have to be in the office – I couldn’t rely on the home network. If that was an emergency, it could mean leaving the house at 2am and driving the hour and a half to the office to log on.
“Now, with a reliable superfast connection, if there’s an emergency I can be working on it within minutes. It also gives me a competitive edge when pitching for new clients - I can guarantee that I can be immediately available around the clock if needed.”
As well as providing a boost to his business, Richard said fibre had also helped to improve family life as well.
Richard said: “The time saved travelling means I can be at home so I have the time to do things like the school run rather than my wife having to do everything while I’m stuck in traffic somewhere. It gives me a much better work/life balance.
“I have five daughters aged from two to eight and everything they watch on TV these days is on-demand over the internet. Before we had superfast, when I was logged in for work none of the kids or my wife could get online for anything because I needed all the bandwidth to support my work. The running joke was when they got in at 3.30 they couldn’t do anything until I logged off at 5.30.There would be regular shouting matches. It was just bearable with just me on it, but when anyone else was online at the same time – I would notice straight away. The time to copy files would immediately shoot up from taking minutes to hours.
“Now, no matter what my wife and children are doing online I know I can still rely on the connection for my work.”
Richard added: “We have everything we need in Bridlington and having fibre means we no longer have to consider moving away. Superfast broadband is providing a lifeline to families like ours.”
Broadband East Riding, a partnership between East Riding of Yorkshire Council and BT, has already made the superfast broadband network available to more than 42,000 properties under the first phase of the programme. The second phase of Broadband East Riding will see an additional 4,500 properties getting access to superfast broadband by December 2017.
In the East Riding, engineers working for Openreach, BT’s local network business, have installed around 240 fibre broadband cabinets, which are connected to the network by more than 180 miles of underground fibre duct. More than 40 exchange areas are now live with fibre.
Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so households and businesses in the East Riding can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers.
For up to date information on available business support and the roll-out, visit