Case Study: Bath Business Park Goes with Fibre Broadband Solution

Gradwell Communications Ltd has released a study of its fibre broadband solution delivered to Bath Business Park. The business park serves several innovative and thriving businesses with its high quality, adaptable offices and warehousing. Current tenants include video production, design consulting, e-tailing and manufacturing.

At the beginning of 2014, the park faced a challenge: it was struggling with demand for faster internet speeds. The BT copper service was relatively slow, in some areas the speeds were as low as 1MB and it simply wasn’t fast enough.

As a community, the park looked at their options: they lobbied the council, spoke to their MP and even discussed a solution with BT. Unfortunately, no one could, or would, make a firm commitment to help them. What’s more, providing the speeds required meant delivery of a bigger pipe to be shared across the park – something none of the parties were willing to take on. To add insult to injury, BT was already providing their Infinity service to homes just across the road. In February 2014, Gradwell Communications announced its GigaBath campaign designed to help transform Bath into a 21st century digital city. Similar fibre options seemed the next logical step for Bath Business Park.

Gradwell met with Clive Seager, Technical Director at Revolution Education Ltd, which operates out of the business park, to discuss bringing in a fibre solution. The project involved scoping the full needs of the park’s clients, surveying the site, gaining an understanding of a previous dispute BT had over the duct ownership on the premises, mapping an initial project plan and implementation phases.

Gradwell’s view was that deploying a fibre network for business telecommunication is not fundamentally dissimilar than the way other power source networks are deployed. However, it’s a model that hasn’t been fully embraced for business expansion outside of loosely defined district limits within metropolitan areas and with incumbent businesses like BT it can be very costly. Following a series of meetings to define customer needs, the decision was made to move ahead with the installation.

Gradwell’s solution involved deploying a hybrid fibre and wireless installation, initially providing a 100MB fibre connection to a central distribution point in the park and connecting each business via high throughput point-to-point wireless installations.

During implementation, Peter Gradwell, Gradwell’s Chief Technical Officer, suggests, “We originally looked at all options for a fibre installation across the business park. Once we found that a wired install was not possible due to the disputes over duct ownership, we developed a wireless solution to meet customer requirements. We designed the network with the express intention of delivering a great connectivity experience for our customers”.

Gradwell delivered its fibre solution linking the park’s businesses and so far the results are a runaway success. Connection speeds have been transformed and the customers are delighted.

Amanda Canning from ViewPoint Photography and Film states, “Our business moved to the Bath Business Park when it was first built. The site was not supported by fibre broadband and with no specific timescale for BT to bring fibre to the park so we contacted Gradwell to look at options for our company. We had fibre installed at the end of 2014 and it has transformed how we work with our clients. Instead of sending our files on hard drives or DVD’s we can now send the majority of our data, via the internet, in a very short period of time. This ensures our clients receive their photographs or films faster and they are easily accessible and transferrable to colleagues”.

Clive Seager adds, “By considering the park as a whole, each individual business has hugely benefitted from 21st century fibre optic connection speeds without the traditional costs that would be involved with each business installing/leasing fibre by themselves. Our upload speed is now typically 50x faster than it was before the Gradwell installation”.

Peter Gradwell further states, “The Bath tech and business community is a thriving one, and we treated the Bath Business Park project as a community project. This was a pioneering set up and treating the business park as a whole led to a much more cost-effective installation, as delivering individual fibre services to each building would have inflated the costs massively”.

The park is looking ahead with plans for the future and where they want to go next with its development. With its unrivalled fibre network in place and a strong partnership with Gradwell, the park is now even better positioned to help future tenants get connected.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine