Firms across Worcestershire say they are loving the way high-speed fibre broadband is helping them to improve the way they do business.
Around 65,000 businesses and homes are now able to access the technology as a result of the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out, led by Worcestershire County Council and BT as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which builds on private sector investments.
It’s nearly six months since Worcestershire County Council reached its target of making faster fibre broadband available to 90 per cent of county businesses – and the number of firms putting the technology at the heart of their business continues to grow.
More than one in three businesses and households that are able to get fibre as a result of Superfast Worcestershire have chosen to do so.
Among them are firms which are making particular use of the technology in order to boost business, especially in the run up to Valentine’s Day. They include Sidbury-based Floral Roundabout, Luxury Hampers and Gifts in Worcester, The Goldsmithy jewellers in Broadway and the Red Lion, in Holt Heath, North Worcestershire.
Lydia McPherson, who took over Floral Roundabout in December, hopes using fibre broadband will help the business to flourish. She created a colourful, eye-catching website where customers can look for ideas before placing their orders.
Lydia said: “My website acts as a second shop window for me. Being able to quickly upload and publish photos of our beautiful flowers is incredibly important in order to keep Floral Roundabout current. Having a fast connection improves our productivity. We don’t have to worry about buffering and I can also process online orders and keep in touch with my suppliers more quickly.
“We also offer an online shop and online reminder service, so important dates won’t be forgotten. It’s great having a fast and reliable connection and I’m looking forward to seeing the business grow over the coming months.”
Broadway jeweller, Simon Waldron, thinks fibre broadband is worth its weight in gold. He is one of three generations of the Waldron family involved in The Goldsmithy, selling a mixture of traditional pieces and contemporary designs.
He said: “We understand the need to evolve in order to attract new customers and exploit new markets. Since getting fibre, I’ve been able to upload pictures onto our website more quickly, and source inspiration, materials and interact with clients far more easily. Our download speeds have increased to 67 megabits per second (Mbps) and the cost is very similar to what we were paying for standard broadband, so it made perfect sense for us to upgrade.”
Fibre broadband is the toast of the Red Lion pub. As well as running a thriving restaurant, specialising in Caribbean cuisine, the pub boasts a business lounge which offers its users free, reliable wi-fi, thanks to Superfast Worcestershire.
Victoria Cullen, the pub’s tenant and chef, said: “Since upgrading to fibre broadband in November we can upload to our website with ease to ensure it’s always up-to-date. We also use social media to let people know about our Caribbean cuisine and other specialist menus.
“But it’s not just at traditionally busy times of the year like the run-up to Valentine’s Day that fibre is proving helpful. Our business lounge is proving popular all year round because of the free wi-fi, something we would struggle to offer without a fast internet connection.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “It’s great to see businesses benefitting from a superfast broadband boost as a result of Superfast Worcestershire. The programme helps to ensure Worcestershire is and remains ‘open for business’.
“The importance of fibre-based broadband cannot be overstated in this digital age and is providing a real boost for the local economy. Having faster connectivity to the internet is crucial to business development and a major factor in the success of Worcestershire’s business community.”
Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Worcestershire and the West Midlands, said: “Increasingly we’re hearing how a growing number of small and medium firms are recognising the importance of putting fibre broadband at the heart of their businesses.
“Whether it’s updating a website, sourcing materials over the internet, looking for new trading opportunities and markets and around the world, or offering customers free wi-fi access – using fibre broadband makes all these things quicker and easier.”
Pictured: The Goldsmithy Jewellers love their new Superfast broadband connection.