- Tatton Tech successfully trials broadband for hard to reach areas
The Tatton Group, which acts for a range of rural clients including the Tatton Estate, is so “fed up” with poor rural broadband connectivity, and hearing rural businesses express their huge frustration, that it has decided to fix the problem itself, launching “Tatton Tech”.
Founder Henry Brooks has called on the Government to bring forward their plans to bring universal high-speed broadband to stop the untold damage being done to the UK’s rural communities.
The latest of numerous warnings comes in the Local Government Association’s Post-Brexit England Commission interim report, issued last month, which stated that lack of access to reliable broadband and mobile networks threatens rural livelihoods after Brexit.
The report said rural communities across England are facing a “perfect storm” of threats to their future, fuelled by unfit-for-purpose network infrastructure, increasing property prices and an ageing population, which may be made much worse after Brexit.
The Tatton Group provides integrated consultancy and delivery services for investors and occupiers of commercial and residential and sites throughout the UK, especially in rural areas. Clients include the Tatton Estate, the largest private landowner in Cheshire East/South Manchester, responsible for several thousand acres of land, 500 tenancies and range of innovative brown and greenfield developments.
Mr Brooks, who is also on the policy committee of the Country Land and Business Association and President of the Cheshire Agricultural Society said: “Rural business owners cite a persistent litany of problems especially poor broadband coverage, but the universal high-speed broadband promised by the Government is not due to arrive before 2020, after Brexit, which is too late even if on time. We have experienced this ourselves and became so fed up we decided to find our own solution for customers all over the country.”
Tatton Tech is rolling out the latest radio broadband technology to offer businesses and nearby residents – especially in hard to reach areas – first class digital connectivity with three core products: Tatton Ultrafast for businesses; Tatton Superfast for home office; and Tatton Fast for home use.
He said: “For our business and thousands of others across the UK from farmers and home workers to large corporates, digital connectivity is now critical. We have also heard from many people in our area who struggle for rural broadband despite being close to Manchester and as a result are suffering increasing crime, so wireless CCTV is also becoming more and more important which relies on a good internet connection.
“Much has been said about rebalancing the UK economy, especially critical as we approach life outside the European Union when we need to be filling skills and productivity gaps and quite frankly quickly rolling out high speed broadband to rural areas is like picking low-hanging fruit – it’s easy! In the meantime, we are not prepared to sit around and be left behind and that’s why we are taking the matter into our hands.
“The UK is blessed not just with rural economies but economies in rural areas and they rightly and fairly need to be properly served. Cheshire and Warrington’s output per head, for example, according to the Office for National Statistics is more than 20% higher than the UK average and is the second highest of any sub-region outside of London despite terrible connectivity. People’s livelihoods and the UK’s economy is badly damaging as a result.”
Historically, rural landowners and their tenants have been put off by the cost of leased lines. Tatton Group was quoted more than £25,000 for one connection and then in excess of £1,000/month, hence seeking a better solution and by doing it themselves it came in at a much reduced price.
The first connection was made at the group’s Tatton Studio, a Film and Television facility at rural Ashley Hall in Cheshire regularly used by the BBC and others, including ITV, Fox, Netflix and Channel 4. Those who use the studios are now able to transfer up to 400 gigabytes of material a day.
A 1GB landline was installed within an unobstructed sight line to beam a radio broadband signal of 150MB to the production offices. The 150MB per second speed was achieved both uploading and downloading. This has enabled not only good internet access, but services such as video conferencing, VOIP, or voice over internet, automated gates with number plate recognition and CCTV all of which were previously impossible. Many properties had no broadband at all, and could only access 4G at best.
The first wave of properties to be connected by Tatton Tech include holiday lets managed under their Tatton Stays brand. Tatton Tech plans to roll the service out to businesses and nearby or related residential properties.
Edmond Kelleher, Tatton Tech director, said: “We have found that the service we have been trialling is better value for money than leased lines especially when there is no digging of holes and no hidden costs. Once installed, as we have seen ourselves, it enables all sorts of other technology saving costs (e.g. VOIP telephones) and increasing productivity, meaning you don’t have to work in the city to get on.”
To help keep down the cost of installing truly high speed broadband Tatton Tech have a creative and skilled site survey team and look to secure grants wherever available. Radio connections need antenna to be at a high point ideally, with a clear sight line to the buildings to be connected. Trees do not necessarily block the signal but the clearer the route the better. Poles can also be used to gain the height necessary if a building is not available within range. Tatton Group erected scaffolding towers at this year’s Cheshire Show to provide free broadband to visitors to demonstrate to a wide audience how this life-changing technology can help customers nationally.