In the last newsletter dated July 2013 I listed several notable achievements and reported what then appeared handsome growth throughout our network. At that time it was difficult to visualise the position now, 24 months on.
Thanks to BT, the BDUK roll out policy or just our own dogged W3Z determination I can proudly report that we are seeing people joining W3Z at double the monthly numbers we were seeing 12 months ago. Yes, we see losses when BT ‘Infinity’ finally materialises in an area but after they have given potential customers everything free for 15 months our percentage attrition is less than 5% and we still see new additions in the area from people who just cannot see why, in 2015, they should need to have a BT landline. This process can be likened to clotheslines being replaced by tumble dryers – progress! That 5% loss also includes people moving out of our service area, something we have always had.
I make no apology for reiterating the news item we have headed separately – ‘The Minister came, listened, went and then acted’. On April 30th The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the then Culture Secretary with responsibilities for UK Broadband development paid a surprise visit to Zycomm and W3Z.
I described the 12 years of development of the W3Z network and the Minister expressed surprise and delight at what he heard and congratulated Zycomm and W3Z on the achievement, all without Government aid. I commented to him that being free from the bureaucratic reporting that would be associated with such funding had actually allowed us to get on at our own pace. That he acknowledged.
Sajid asked if there was anything he could do to assist, after the election? I requested that he look at the situation with traditional ISP’s who would tie customers up in a three-year contract knowing they could never achieve acceptable speeds whilst W3Z could offer NGA target speeds NOW. It is very gratifying to note that on August 1st the Government announced that customers could no longer be held in long contracts when another ISP could offer a better deliverable service. This really is ‘recognition’.
During the last year in particular our customers have grasped both the technological and financial benefits associated with Vonage IP telephony (see www.vonage.co.uk).
Vonage is a US company with a superb product, which gives exemplary results over our 20/1 W3Z Superfast service. For a current monthly charge of £7 incl VAT you save your BT line rental and make all calls to UK lines within the 01,02 and 03 numbering regime without additional charge. Once you have a Vonage account you can port your existing BT number over and also use the Vonage Extensions Mobile Phone App to make free mobile calls over Wi-Fi – and that is any Wi-Fi including Costa and McDonalds!
As well as Shirley Church near Ashbourne we have teamed up with the Diocese to bring the Community closer to the Church using W3Z. Derby Cathedral has been particularly supportive allowing us to mix our Access Points with the Peregrine Falcons on the Tower. We are currently looking to use other Churches and are well on with agreeing to use The Cathedral of the Peak in Tideswell.
Where else have we activated? Our coverage list on our website has now been updated but recent additions include, Thorpe Constantine near Tamworth, at the request of Estate Managers Fisher-German, Wetton and Alstonfield for Chatsworth Estate. Eyam, Foolow, Wardlow, much of the Staffordshire Moorlands in range of our Ipstones Edge mast, Flagg, Pomeroy and Monyash have just gone live. In the south we have improved coverage in Fenny Bentley and switched on Stanton (Ashbourne), Kniveton, Wyaston, Hollington, Parwich, Sapperton Park on the outskirts of Church Broughton, which also serves elevated parts of Boylestone (notably the pub). Longford, Edlaston and Brailsford are now close on our hit list.
At the time of going to press we await an Ofcom link licence that will allow us to start progress into the areas around Chesterfield. We are very nearly ‘there’ in Tideswell and Taddington and before the end of September fully live in Sheldon.
If you have a community in a black hole and need our help then please get in touch, having succeeded at the Izaak Walton Hotel we are up for a new challenge!
M I Sneap – Project Wizard