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BBC’s Springwatch gets ultrafast broadband boost

Gloucestershire’s Sherborne Park Estate has been hooked up to an ultrafast gigabit broadband connection as its owners prepare to welcome the BBC’s Springwatch team

Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband network builder and internet service provider (ISP) Gigaclear has connected the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire to its ultrafast broadband service just in time to support the filming of this year’s series of the BBC’s Springwatch programme.

The BBC is broadcasting Springwatch – and its tie-in show Springwatch Unsprung – live from the estate’s Northfield Barn, but needed to enhance connectivity to Sherborne in order to reliably stream live footage of the estate’s diverse and plentiful wildlife.

The corporation contacted Gigaclear, which was already working in Gloucestershire under its Fastershire Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contract, which has already seen it connect 6,500 properties in the county, with 3,500 more planned in the near future.

“We made sure that nothing got in the way of BBC filming,” said Gigaclear chief operating officer Brett Shepherd. “By installing our pure fibre network especially for Springwatch, this old cattle barn is now one of the best connected places in the country.”

The network will allow for speeds of up to 1Gbps for both uploads and downloads, and the National Trust already plans to make the barn available for filming again, and intends to welcome the BBC back for Winterwatch later in the year.

It said it hoped the availability of an ultrafast broadband service would help more people to appreciate the work being done to look after and protect the UK’s wildlife.

Elsewhere, Gigaclear’s BDUK roll-outs are in full swing – the operator recently connected its 5,000th property in nearby Berkshire, the West Berkshire Brewery – having already completed 400km out of a planned 850km fibre network dig.

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As previously highlighted by Computer Weekly, although most consumers do not yet need gigabit speeds to get the most out of their broadband connections, businesses in remote rural areas have a much more pronounced need for capacity.

“Before Gigaclear, our speeds were as low as 1.6Mbps, so performing everyday tasks was a struggle,” said West Berkshire Brewery shop manager Ed Cowan. “It could take up to 20 minutes for everyone’s emails to update of a morning, it was difficult to maintain our website and it was nearly impossible to download from the cloud.

“Now all our online activities run significantly faster and more efficiently, and our speeds are over 100 times better than before.

“We are also going through expansion and looking to develop our website, which will be much more complex with a lot more content. This kind of development would have been nearly impossible to maintain before. The speeds have really improved the way we run the business.”

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