kimmidge bay

Kimmeridge, a small rural village on the Jurrassic coast of Dorset was a tourist attraction for its ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, World Heritage Site and Special Scientific Interest Sites, but certainly not renowned for its Communications infrastructure. Due to lack of infrastructure investment in the area, there was only unreliable, Sub 200k internet connectivity and dismal mobile phone signal.

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The Challenge

Kimmeridge was soon to be home to a new museum thanks to lottery funding, it was going to be hosting one of the largest collections of fossils in the area, The Etches Collection. The museum wanted to have an online presence, but with residents, schools and businesses only being able to achieve 200kbps broadband, the likelihood of an influential online presence for the museum was slim.

The picturesque village was too small to justify the attention of a larger commercial investment and so the area was counting on an independent company willing and capable of tackling the challenge themselves. Voip Unlimited were approached, renowned for completing similar projects only their network and reputation for innovative installs could handle.

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Solution:

Voip Unlimited engineers completed a site survey which presented a host of problems. Most of the issues were geographic, but our engineers created an innovative wireless network design by utilising Portland Harbour which had a direct line of sight to one of the highest points in Kimmeridge. We quickly devised a plan to run 2km of fibre across Portland, connecting this to a licensed microwave link which spans the bay to a newly installed mast. By over engineering the project and adding two antennas on the mast we created a dual resiliency for the connection, so that the services were 100% reliable once live.

Sir Michael Hobbs, Kimmeridge resident:
You couldn’t do any serious work on your computer and it was a major cause of concern to the village. This is an isolated area; people do rely on communications of some sort.”

Helen & Stephen Earwicker, Kimmeridge residents:
We love living here but it has been difficult at times from a communications point of view. It wasn’t that it was slow, it wasn’t there at all on some days.”

The village now benefits from 50 times faster connectivity

Deployment:

During the deployment of the solution, we firstly had to adhere to a few legislative hurdles with the land being protected; visual impact statements were mandatory and an Archaeologist was hired to oversee any excavation. There was a small period of time where a road closure & temporary power downtime was necessary in order for our third party to install electricity supply and due to the winter weather and steep hill location, the fibre installation digger was supported by a bulldozer for stability. Securing the new mast with concrete was also another challenge, as the mixing process had to be done at the top of the hill due to its gradient and mixed in one go, so our teams needed to ensure absolute accuracy as this could only be done once!

One of the areas with a repeater requirement was also within a protected SSI (Special Scientific Interest) zone meaning no changes to the ground structure could be made obstructing the best place for installation. Our creative installation engineers didn’t let this put them off, realising they could recycle existing holes from redundant service poles, replace with a new, taller pole and install the dish to receive a reliable signal.

To add to the list of challenges for Voip Unlimited to solve, whilst the engineers and project manager were deploying the solution, we were hit with hurricane Imogen and many of the workers had to take solace in covered areas on the steep installation site. Due to the lack of mobile phone coverage the crew on site could also only communicate with two way radios. With all challenges overcome, the team established the link and started sending superfast broadband connectivity services over the huge 25km 1Gb redundant link.

 

Results
After battling through several hurdles on our way, Voip continued to success and now the village benefits from 1Gb of connectivity with easily accessible installs supplemented by Dorset County Council to make the opportunity even more cost effective. Apart from the Museum which is in its final stages of construction, the customers on the connection are mostly residential, each getting 50Mbps, a vast improvement on the barely 200Kpbs broadband previously available.
Kimmeridge wifi graphic

100% Uptime and continual interest

The customer demand has exceeded our expectation and those on the link are extremely happy with the speed and reliability. For residents who currently have a traditional broadband service offering less than 2Mbps, there is a voucher available, funded by the government to cover up to 70% of the installation costs to upgrade to Voip’s superfast broadband. With the area known for its natural beauty, Voip Unlimited also offered a camouflaging service for the dishes installed on the residential property chimneys, a lot of which were thatched roofed.

As a telecoms provider, Voip Unlimited have also had many enquiries into reliable phone systems, as previously with broadband, this is a major cause of concern for the villagers. With large connectivity now in the area, many of the residents have the option to benefit from VoIP telephony to offer reliable phone calls in an area of poor mobile signal, the added service also creates a cost saving benefit by removing traditional copper PSTN line rental charges.


Mark Pillow

“Taking on the full overheads of this project was a big decision for me to make, but the challenge & life changing results for the residents was just too appealing. The amount of customers we now have in the area has already reduced my prediction on a rather long return on investment. I am glad to have removed this extremely frustrating barrier for Kimmeridge residents and am extremely proud of our solution despite all the barriers which would have most likely stopped most companies from deployment completion.”

Mark Pillow, MD of Voip Unlimited