Speeding up its connection to the information superhighway is helping an Ashington car business ensure its customers in Ashington are hitting the actual highway as efficiently as possible.
Energy Tuning owner Darren Darling placed an order as soon as he discovered that fibre broadband had arrived at North Seaton Industrial Estate, and now he and his team are enjoying superfast speeds of about 74mbps.
Darren said: “Having fibre broadband has been a massive time saver for us and helps us run the online side of the business much more efficiently.”
The company specialises in performance and fuel economy tuning, using an array of specialised diagnostic tools that need to be regularly updated with the latest software.
“We have about 20 diagnostic tools which tell us what is going on inside a vehicle’s engine. These need updating daily or a few times a week, and we can’t use them while they’re being updated,” he said.
“Before we had superfast broadband, it could take more than 24 hours to update a machine, which meant coming in at weekends or working overnight so that machines would be ready to use when we need them. Now we can do it in a matter of hours.”
Almost 20,000 homes and businesses in Ashington can now access to the high-speed technology, thanks to iNorthumberland and BT’s commercial roll-out programme.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery and Northumberland County Council deputy leader Dave Ledger have visited Energy Tuning to see its new internet set-up in action.
Mr Lavery said: “Today’s visit has reinforced the fact that superfast broadband brings benefits to most, if not all, businesses.
“All businesses should certainly be asking themselves how it could be of use to them.
“Faster internet speeds could help make current work processes more efficient, create a show-stopping website or support an increased presence on social media.
“There are many benefits just waiting to be exploited.”
Coun Ledger said: “This really does demonstrate the value of superfast broadband to local businesses.
“The broadband programme underpins the growth plans we have for the county, connectivity being a major driver for business growth.
“It is great to see Ashington so well connected.”
The iNorthumberland broadband programme, a key part of the council’s growth investment plans, is being delivered in tandem with BT.
BT was awarded the iNorthumberland contract in April 2013 following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework.
A second-phase contract signed in June will see a further £4.1million invested in the programme. That is in addition to the £18.9million initially invested by the council, BDUK, BT and the European Regional Development Fund.
Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the north east, said: “Getting this network in the ground has been a fantastic achievement and one of the biggest local civil engineering projects in recent years.
“However, the real test of its success will be the amount of local people, and businesses taking advantage of it.
“Not only is superfast broadband of value to business, it also offers many benefits for families, such as downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV, streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes, or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds.
“It can also improve access to new job opportunities and make it easier to shop around for cheaper services.
“Most importantly, it enables everyone in the family to do their own thing online, all at the same time, which can certainly make for a more peaceful household, in my experience.”
Most premises in Northumberland will eventually have access to some of the best broadband speeds in the UK via iNorthumberland and the commercial roll-out of fibre by BT’s network business, Openreach.
Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis, so Northumbrian households and businesses can benefit from competitive products and pricing.
For details, visit www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk or www.inorthumberland.org.uk