Rural Broadband Business Forum


The Loft – Tapnell Farm, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0YJ


John Irvine – CEO of WightFibre


Forum Panel Members:

James Attrill of CLA and BCM
Anne Brackenbury of Bowcombe Valley Developments Limited
Tom Honeyman-Brown of The Cow Co
Peter Collinge of WightFibre
John Heather of NFU Mutual
Neil Payne of West Wight Alpacas
Esme Shakeshaft of Moore Stephens South LLP
Jonathan Thornton of PC Consultants



Points Of Interest From The Forum:


Esme Shakeshaft made three particularly interesting points during the forum:

  • Commuters that live on The Isle of Wight would benefit greatly from more reliable broadband – allowing scope for them to work from home where applicable.
  • Esme suggested that groups should be formed within communities to address their broadband access and service.
  • For businesses, RTI & Auto Enrollment need a fast, reliable connection to ensure employees are paid on time, especially when pay roll needs to be carried out on a weekly basis.


Did you know: Cowes and Newport are considered to be rural by the UK Government, so if you think a rural debate doesn’t affect you, you may want to think twice – it affects the whole island.


Jonathan Thornton suggested that businesses should check their own network settings, making sure that recreational use of access does not impact on priority facilities such as PDQ machines and a company’s computer systems.


Did you know: WightFibre (or any other provider) cannot legally dig up a newly re-surfaced road to lay cable for 2-5 years.


A particularly hot topic was tourism and hospitality, noting that from customers booking their break, to arriving and entertaining the family on a rainy day – great broadband access is vital.


Did you know: Some cabinet-to-home cables are 50/60 years old and still copper ones (not WightFibre’s) and they just can’t cope with modern demand.


Consumers need to be educated about what broadband services they should be expecting. Many people assume buffering for around 40 – 60 secs is acceptable when streaming content, when in fact they shouldn’t be waiting for more than several seconds.


“Over the next few years I see us being the best connected island in the UK.”– John Irvine

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