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Trappist monks go broadband for secular needs

Ian Grant

Trappist monks from Caldey Island are using a new wireless broadband link to boost takings from their online shop.

Father Daniel, abbot of Caldey Abbey, part of the Cistercian order, said, "Patience is one of the characteristics of monastic life, but even the patience of the brothers was being tested by our slow dial-up internet service."

Daniel said broadband access had made a huge difference to their internet usage. "We knew that we needed a faster connection, but we had almost given up trying to find a workable solution which would give us an internet connection at speeds enjoyed by others on the mainland," he said.

The brothers now plan to grow their online shop, which offers perfumes, chocolate, shortbread, books and first day covers for stamp collectors. "We have many plans to develop our commercial activities now that we have a modern, high-speed communications link," said Daniel.

The link, from Welsh wireless broadband network operator Telecomms Facilities (TFL), connects the abbey to the rest of the world via a 100Mbps fibre optic backhaul service from ntl:Telewest Business, part of the Virgin Media group. TFL provides Wi-Fi and Wimax broadband services across West Wales.

Demand for TFL's services, which bring high-speed network access to a rural, under-served area of the UK, were straining TFL's network capacity. Backhauling via ntl:Telewest's optical fibre network allowed TFL to provide point-to-point wireless network access at up to 300Mbps.


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