Broadband for Rural Estates

Because of its expertise in multi-tenanted business properties such as business centres and science parks and with years of experience in delivering complex community Broadband projects, Broadband Vantage has developed a specific area of expertise in delivering Next Generation Access Community Broadband projects to rural estates through the creative upgrading of the Broadband and cooperative outsourcing.

While rural estates often struggle to gain access to basic Broadband services due to their remoteness, they also cluster a number of businesses and residential users together.

Using this clustering, BbV constructs specific business models to enable the upgrading of the Community Broadband infrastructure, the local ICT delivery infrastructure while offering a useful second source of income and a sound Return on Investment.

White Papers

Broadband Vantage has developed white papers on a range of topics relative to its expertise in Community Broadband, ICT infrastructure and Next Generation Access.

Two new white papers are available for download on the subject of Data Centres and Software as a service.

Alscot Estate

Alscot is a large estate south of Stratford upon Avon, close to the Cotswolds. It has signicant agricultural activity but also has over 100,000 sq. ft. of commercial property (of which probably half is office), two villages and over 100 residential let properties.

Access to higher speed broadband was becoming a signicant issue in the commercial lettings and was starting to become an issue affecting the lettability of residential property.

Crabtree Hall

Crabtree Hall is a business centre based on converted farm buildings right next to the A1 in North Yorkshire. Broadband service was originally provided by a high speed wireless link from BT and the Centre had won awards for the quality of the ICT fit out.

When this connection ran out of capacity options were studied for how it might be upgraded but the cost started to become prohibitive. The delivery of the Broadband and telephone service was costing rather than earning money and the landlord wanted to look at options for improving the return on its investment
Nostell Estate

Nostell Estate is a cluster of commercial properties in converted buildings based around the old estate yard and new buildings in the old Walled Garden. It is to be found to the east of Wakeeld in Yorkshire. The yard was extensively refurbished some years ago and includes buildings with ancient monument status.

At the time new ducting was laid in the yard with the expectation that BT would provide high speed broadband but the estate is too far from the exchange to get high speed service. The main house is now the property of the National Trust.

St Clere Estate

St Clere is a medium sized estate in Kent at the junction of the M25, M20 and M26. It has about 10000 sq. ft. of commercial office space and a number of residential lets. The estate gets appalling Broadband speeds with some tenants using mobile phone technology in an attempt to get a connection and others sending large files from home in the evenings.

One commercial space had been vacant for over 18 months and poor Broadband was cited as the main reason for the vacancy. The relatively small amount of let property was going to create a challenge for the model unless a lower cost alternative could be found or wider demand aggregated

  Symonds Farm

Symonds Farm is a cluster of commercial buildings with mixed training, warehousing/ distribution and office uses. It is situated right on the A14 between Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

The site beneted from an external fibre connection and the ductwork to create a local network. This needed building out and a service provider recruited to manage and operate the service on behalf of the owner.

As a second phase, it was believed that there was strong local demand in the area for a wireless broadband service and this is currently in the planning stage. This will use the existing infrastructure to provide improved return on investment and a stronger business model leading to future additional income..



Stanley Grange at Knowsley Park

Stanley Grange is a development of office buildings based on the Knowsley Estate Home Farm. The Estate originally allowed its tenants to do their own thing when it came to ICT infrastructure but the distance from the exchange meant highly variable quality and reliability and no service at all for certain buildings.

BbV built a complete ICT infrastructure strategy that incorporates upgrading the ICT infrastructure of the site itself, the procurement of a Managed Service Provider partner, the design of a fibre and wireless infrastructure to connect up the Hall and other properties along the Jacks Brow road and the raising of a grant to support the capital investment.

Knowsley Estate cracks rural Broadband problem

Getting decent Broadband speeds is such a major problem in rural areas that the government is investing over £500m in improving supply; a budget that has survived not only a change of government but several budgets and spending reviews.

In Knowsley Park tenants were getting no Broadband at all or speeds below 300k and were also getting unreliable services, all due to the distance from the Exchange and the age and condition of the BT infrastructure. BT is spending billions on upgrading its infrastructure but not in rural areas with low population density. Even though it is the middle of Merseyside, the Knowsley Estate is quite remote from the exchanges and would probably never benefit from these upgrades.

The Land Agent at the Estate, Martin Harker, of Smiths Gore, picks up the story. "We conducted a strategic review, focusing mainly on our business tenants who are mostly in the Stanley Grange business centre. Broadband availability was a big issue in terms of speed, quality and the cost of getting higher speed services. We know that potential tenants are often put off rural property because of the poor Broadband availability. Whether working from home or looking for business premises, Broadband is now the third most important criterion after location and price. We believe we have an outstanding location and reasonable terms and so Broadband was even more important for us".

Smiths Gore have a department which specialises in solving Broadband supply problems on rural estates and other tricky multi-tenanted locations and they brought in Broadband Vantage to advise. The project was broken down into a number of phases including upgrading the Stanley Grange infrastructure, installing a 100mb fibre optic connection to the Internet and selecting a services provider to build and operate the infrastructure on behalf of the Estate.

The problem was then to provide a service to the residential tenants, the outlying business properties and Knowsley Hall itself. Contact was made with the Mersey Leader programme which administered a rural development grant process which was subsequently taken back into DEFRA. Despite the changes in scheme management the project was awarded a grant.

A mixture of fibre optic cable and wireless technologies were selected to ensure the optimum blend of capacity, quality and cost and over 1km of fibre optic cable was trenched into the Park connecting Stanley Grange up to the Hall via a number of commercial and residential properties. Bob Cushing from Broadband Vantage: "While fibre optic cable provides a future proofed and high quality delivery mechanism it is expensive to terminate it in each property. We decided to directly connect the commercial properties to the fibre optic cable and then use wireless technologies to reach the residential properties. This combination provides the optimum mix of quality, capacity and cost for a mixed use, low density project such as this".

The first part of the fibre optic cabling was completed just before Christmas 2011 and the first commercial tenant connected up. The project went fully live at the end of March 2012
Martin Harker: "The project completes the connection of many properties in Knowsley Park. This takes the estate from a situation where Broadband connection was a liability (and limited the sorts of tenants who would move here) into an asset where we can offer not only a great location but state of the art facilities to existing and prospective tenants".