Halton BID recently requested Guy Lewis from TV Ltd to produce a report detailing the possible solutions that can be deployed, to increase the internet connectivity speeds on Astmoor Industrial Estate and the different operating models that can be adopted.

The BID have historically looked at many different solutions to providing high speed broadband and felt it was imperative to seek greater visibility and direction on the different technical solutions and operating models currently available.

The Astmoor Industrial Estate has historically been serviced with low internet connection speeds through the existing wired telephony infrastructure. Broadband over existing copper cables is the base level for most businesses however private landlords and larger businesses have sought their own individual IT solutions ranging from the installation of ISDNs, getting Fibre connected and adopting mobile phone 4G enabled systems.

The ANPR camera system is connected through an independent interconnecting wireless network serviced from a dedicated uncontended incoming fibre,. This fibre has been leased as 100Mb/s over 100Mb fibre bearer and currently has some spare capacity.

The recent Covid 19 lockdown has shown that external connectivity into site servers is high on business continuity plans when all staff members are required to practice safe distancing and work remotely from home. High speed internet connection can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space. High speed internet connection enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. A report by Openreach in 2019 suggests high speed internet connectivity could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.

It is also shown that a high speed internet connection is becoming a necessity in the ever expanding digital worlds including Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.

Halton BID invited all BID Businesses to attend a virtual call last Friday, to hear Guy present his findings and to discuss next actions etc. However, we appreciate that not everyone who wanted to join us on the call had availability to do so. Therefore, we recorded Guy’s presentation and this can be watched or re-watched here.

The introduction of Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) in the last 2 years, allowing access to the BT ducts and poles by authorised data infrastructure providers has enabled third party operators to speed up the deployment of Fibre to the Premise, a requirement for businesses wanting superfast and ultimately Ultra-Fast broadband connectivity.

The proposal from ITS and Avandda provides the opportunity of a fibre based network to be installed on the estate almost immediately and to be operational by October 2020.

This may be the first of many providers including BT to install fibre to the estate, as the initial fibre offering will drive up demand and where there is demand additional supply usually follows.

The report recommendation is that the BID team support the ITS/Avandda offer through central messaging and arranging communication meetings with the Astmoor businesses and landlords to enable the businesses to benefit from the installation of this new faster data service.

It was agreed during the virtual call last week, that we would request a scaled down service, offering a cheaper starting option for smaller businesses and ITS/Avandda are currently looking at the potential for this.