easyNetworks installs gigabit broadband at Stansted Park

Project Brief
Stansted Park Foundation required a full fibre network to connect 35 properties on the estate with high speed internet, with no environmental damage to the grounds.

Project Overview
Lord Bessborough, Chairman of the Trustees of the Stansted Park Foundation, became increasingly unhappy with the provision of broadband services to the 35 properties on the estate tenanted by residents and businesses. Where internet connections were available on the estate, tenants were experiencing low speeds and had become frustrated that they were unable to use the streaming apps that many of us rely on.

The income from these properties contributes significantly to the costs of conserving Stansted Forest, so it was vital that an internet provider was found that could dramatically improve connectivity while protecting the environment.

Portsmouth based IT and telecoms business easyNetworks designed and installed a gigabit fibre broadband network within the Stansted Park Estate, connecting the residents with superfast internet without damaging the Grade II* listed ancient forest and parkland in the South Downs.

Cost was also a major factor as rural internet projects have often already been overlooked by national providers such as BT as they are not cost-effective. In order to improve the quality of broadband connectivity in remote areas, the UK Government has been supporting communities with Gigabit Broadband Vouchers, a funding mechanism for Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to invest in rural networks.

The solution was a fibre-optic network designed, installed and managed by easyNetworks and financially supported by West Council Sussex Council, which offered tenants a Gigabit Broadband Voucher top-up scheme to facilitate the investment.

Despite the availability of funding, the challenge was still significant: to find a way to connect disparate properties spread across 1800 acres of ancient forest, farmland and landscaped parkland with a gigabit speed fibre-optic network while protecting the environment. easyNetworks met the challenge in only 12 weeks from start to finish, to the satisfaction of the tenants, businesses and trustees of the charitable foundation that manages the estate.

easyNetworks Managing Director Richard Gwilliam said of the project: “Bespoke projects like these allow us to bring our engineering and project management skills together with our expertise in data cabling. Once we had cleared the hurdle of voucher funding, we got to work designing a future-proof gigabit network and carefully managing the contractors, in order to protect the grounds.”

Installation of the fibre was completed in just 8 weeks.  easyNetworks employed two secret weapons to achieve this with no lasting damage to the estate grounds. The first was a mole plough, employed to bury the fibre optic cable one metre below ground without needing to install a duct.  A mole plough was recently featured in episode 2 of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime, where it was used to install a new water pipe.

The other secret weapon was a directional drilling rig, a very clever piece of machinery to drill horizontally under the ground up to distances of 60 metres, which we used to install a small duct under roads and from the main fibre route to each property, without any digging.  Thanks to the skilled engineers and their care taken, it was not possible to identify any visible signs of the cable installation just two months after the completion of the project.

Lord Bessborough, Chairman of the Trustees of the Stansted Park Foundation reflected on the quality of the installation: “We were happy with the way the environment was protected because the contractor observed very careful procedures, didn’t go across fields, didn’t make holes in hedges… you wouldn’t be able to know where they had been now, so it’s been a very good tidy job.”

David Bennett, Director of Stansted Park Foundation, commented on working with easyNetworks: “I found easyNetworks extremely easy and pragmatic to deal with. I was particularly impressed with the detailed planning that went on and the collaboration and communication with us at Stansted Park.”

The super-fast internet speeds (up to 1Gb per second) offered by the new network are popular with the tenants of Stansted Park such as Vanessa Shorten, who said: “My partner and I are both self-employed, so we rely heavily on the internet for our businesses. We’re delighted with the speed of the new connection – it’s amazing.”

If you have a specialist structured cabling, Wi-Fi or internet connectivity project, click here to talk to the cable engineering experts at easyNetworks or contact us here.

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