Get Online Week? But we Can’t Get Online!

29 October 2013

Marchwood in Hampshire is a village of two halves. Divided by a by-pass, one side has a broadband connection but it is radically different on the opposite side. The residents of Beaulieu Road who can't get online were out in force this week to back the CLA's Can't Get Online Week, which aims to bring a dose of rural realism to the national Get Online Week run by UK Online Centres, Race Online and the BBC.

IT and social media expert John Popham set up shop to offer advice about how the residents of Beaulieu Road could get online and encouraged them to sign the CLA's petition calling for a broadband connection of at least five megabits per second (Mbps) for every rural business and household.

 

Broadband solutions provider Hughes Europe set up a temporary satellite connection at local pub, The Bold Forester, to demonstrate an alternative to the biggest internet service providers (ISPs).

John Popham said: "Watching the BBC iPlayer is an unfulfilled dream for most of the residents in Beaulieu Road and what little connectivity there is disappears completely once the kids come home from school and rush to get online. Businesses have to travel to places with better connectivity to run their businesses online.

"Until now, the homes and businesses in Beaulieu Road hadn't considered an alternative to the major ISPs but the demonstration opened their eyes to the possibility of installing shared satellite connections as short-term solutions, and working on their own wired connections in the longer term.

"The event was incredibly inspiring because it was about more than the internet. Neighbours were meeting each other for the first time. This was about community; a community interest in addressing their common lack of connectivity, and an exploration of how that shared interest could help strengthen community ties. It's a real counter to those people who say that the internet is isolating and anti-social."

If you have inadequate or non-existent broadband, sign the CLA petition even if you have to seek out a decent connection away from home to do so: http://www.cla.org.uk/Policy_Work/Petitions/  You can also call 020 7460 7934 to be added to the petition.