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Margaret Hebb didn’t see the point of buying a smart TV before.
Because although it would have been nice to have all the catch-up and streaming services many of us now take for granted – her old broadband just couldn’t cope.
“Before we either got a picture or the sound – and sometimes the picture was so pixelated you couldn’t see what it was,” says Margaret, who is the clerk for Bishop Burton Parish Council.
“But now we’ve got the fibre broadband, I can stream TV and watch things on iPlayer without any problems. It’s a thousand per cent better than it was.”
As the first customer to be connected to KCOM’s ultrafast Lightstream broadband in Bishop Burton, Margaret’s online activities have become seamless.
Before, playing bridge online and taking part in a Zoom call with friends at the same time often proved too frustrating with endless signal drop-outs. Now, with Lightstream, she has no such problems.
With a 200Mbps package she is able to work, take part in council meetings, socialise and stream knowing her broadband will be reliable and ultrafast.
“I know the broadband is only as strong as its weakest link,” says Margaret.
“That why, if you have the signal making the last part of its journey on copper wiring you’re going to struggle. I like the fact that KCOM’s broadband is delivered by fibre all the way to your house. It’s made a huge difference.”
Work is now continuing to connect all 200 properties in the picturesque East Riding village to full fibre broadband, with residents now able to register their interest in switching to the service.
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For Phil Cutland Green doing nothing was not an option.
After moving to the picturesque village of Melbourne in East Yorkshire, Phil knew something needed to be done to improve its creaky broadband.
Even in the days before pandemic lockdowns and the surge in home working, the paltry download and upload speeds he could get in his new home due to the local network just weren’t up to scratch – and needed a serious upgrade.
“I’d moved up from Bedford and was living in Cottingham while my house in Melbourne was being built,” says Phil, who works for an international technology company. “So I knew all about KCOM and its Lightstream broadband.”
“When I realised the broadband in Melbourne wouldn’t be enough for me to work at home or for my wife to run her business from home, I knew I had to do something. That’s when I contacted KCOM and asked if they any plans to build their full fibre network out into my part of the East Riding.
“That’s the beauty of KCOM really. You can still talk to an actual person. When I talked to them, they actually listened and went away to see if it would be possible. If you contact the big providers it goes into a long decision process and it take ages to hear back, if you hear back at all.
“But with KCOM they came back and said ‘if you can generate enough interest for our full fibre broadband service in your village then we’ll come’.
So that’s exactly what Phil did.
He began knocking on a few of his new neighbours doors, distributing flyers and posting online; educating the local community about the difference between their old copper wiring broadband and KCOM’s faster and more reliable full fibre alterative.
“It wasn’t that hard to be honest,” says Phil. “It was a very simple process. Many people were having the same issues especially those away from the centre of the village since, without full fibre, speeds are limited by the length of their existing copper-based wiring. It didn’t take long to get the numbers I needed to show there was enough interest in the village.”
Seeing the groundswell of interest KCOM quickly moved to roll out their award-winning network to Melbourne, which now has access to one of the UK’s best full fibre broadband services.
“The difference to then and now is like chalk and cheese,” says Phil. “Before I’d been lucky to get 30Mbps download and 5Mbps upload speeds. I know people who were getting speeds of 1Mbps which were barely good enough for a video call and you could only get one person online at the same time.
“Now I get 500Mbps download and 100Mbps upload which is a different world. For anyone with kids at home who are gaming and all streaming on different devices at the same time, it’s essential.
“One of the other advantages for villages like this with bad mobile reception is that you can make your calls through the Wi-Fi, it instantly removed that problem.”
And all because Phil decided not to accept bad broadband as a fact of life, choosing instead to become a KCOM community champion and help open up a world of fast streaming possibilities for his fellow villagers.