Ian Calvert has a wealth of experience within the UK digital sector, having previously held senior positions within some of the well-known big telecoms players in the market.
Ian noted that in some rural, hard to reach areas of Cornwall, good internet connections were well below par when compared with other less rural parts of the UK. Connections in rural areas were at best intermittent, leaving many communities literally digitally stranded. Businessmen and women were unable to successfully work remotely, students were unable to access and submit coursework online and family members living in different locations were unable to connect online.
Having defined the issues these areas faced with their internet connectivity, he set himself a challenge: Ian wanted to establish a business which could provide fast, reliable internet to these hard to reach areas.
The question was “How?”
“LAGGING” BEHIND WITH BROADBAND SPEEDS
The larger internet providers really struggle to access certain areas of Cornwall. Their networks which predominantly use old copper cable networks, cannot always reach rural addresses and if they are successful in some areas, the broadband speed is often slow, resulting in a poor internet connection. These pockets of communities can be overlooked and under serviced by the larger internet providers and as a result were becoming increasingly isolated and left behind.
Ian set about putting his mission into practice, drawing on his knowledge and expertise, he embarked on researching the infrastructure available and how these rural communities could be brought into the 21st century. He quickly realised that in order to re-connect these areas, he had to use a different type of infrastructure which could provide fast broadband capable of yielding both a stable and reliable internet connection.
BROADBAND – BUT NOT AS CORNWALL KNOWS IT
In 2017, Ian established Wildanet, which is now headquarted in Liskeard, Cornwall. The business set about to deliver a high-tech, low-hassle, fast broadband solution for those hard to reach rural areas which would guarantee broadband speeds. This was key to differentiating Wildanet from the big players who are only able to guarantee an “up to” broadband speed.
Ian comments: “We explained to our potential customers who Wildanet were and our model of providing lightning fast internet for hard to reach areas. Providing we could get a line of sight to the village; we could connect the residents to our service and solve this problem.”
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SPEED
The traditional broadband infrastructure of copper and fibre continues to get clogged up with oversubscription, which is part of the reason the larger internet providers stumbled across difficulties in rural Cornish areas.
Wildanet use an alternative method of delivering high speed broadband away from the traditional methods employed. They have evolved their infrastructure and built a box of tricks to suit the area they are connecting to and have become a hybrid supplier, combining 3 main methods of broadband technology: wireless, 4G and fibre.
So, how does it all work?
By using cutting edge wireless technology which has more capacity than the copper cable network.
- Wildanet use their own network which runs through the air via interconnected wireless hubs
- The state-of-the-art radio technology connects hubs to a property with the help of a small device, called a “receiver” which is placed on the outside of the property
- The receiver is positioned so it has line of sight to the Wildanet hub
- The hubs interact with the receiver connecting the families inside the property to the internet
A “BIT OF A GIG“ SENDS FAST NEW WAVES THROUGH LISKEARD
Liskeard is proud to be the base for the first wireless gigabit connection in Cornwall. Gigabit technology will provide additional choice for broadband technology which will deliver ultrafast speeds to over 500 properties in the area.
A gigabit is now 40 times faster than you would expect to see from your normal broadband provider. Families can be online all at the same time, participating in video conferencing, watching 4K TV and gaming consistently and confidently without interruption or loss of connectivity.
No more missed opportunities with gaming apps, no more furious clicking trying to get the last bid in for a luxury item and unluckily, no more excuses for extending assignment deadlines for students.
FAST FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE
Wildanet has led the way with installing broadband in hard to reach rural areas.
One third of Cornwall has Wildanet technology in or outside their premises. At any one time, families could be accessing a guaranteed minimum internet speed of 30Mb/s, going up to a lightning-fast 1Gb/s.
Ian Calvert, CEO and Founder of Wildanet commented, “We have been fortunate enough to have received funding over £1.35 million from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund and matched funders, to allow us to expediate our growth strategy bringing reliable super-fast broadband to Cornwall’s hard to reach rural areas in the last few years. During the challenging times we have all been facing during the global pandemic, it was imperative that we continue to support existing customers whilst striving to get new customers connected. I am proud to say that during these times, we have connected more homes than ever before and connected vulnerable families as part of our supporting school’s project. Moving forward there is a real opportunity for us to radically improve connection speeds for homes and businesses across Cornwall currently experiencing low bandwidths and to further continue our expansion plans in the South West. We are excited about what is in store for Wildanet in the coming months.”
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.
Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds Cornwall at The FSE Group adds, “Those of us in towns and cities, well serviced with good internet connections, tend to take it for granted. Digital access is part of everyday life, it is imperative for connecting with family and friends and for business and entertainment. We were delighted to be able to support Wildanet’s plans to help close the digital divide in rural areas. Their technology is top of the range and the future holds exciting opportunities for the business, including area expansion which will create more local job opportunities as they continue to grow.”
If you live in the Cornwall region and would like to find out if Wildanet could become your internet provider:
Tel: 0800 0699909