During these unprecedented times, the need for reliable broadband has never been greater. Here, Ken Reavey, operations director in our telecoms business explains how we, alongside our clients, are doing all that we can to keep communities connected at this time.
“The need for speed has always been a critical driver for broadband infrastructure. A month ago, this need would have been based around a broad network of places, including, offices, schools, shops and people’s houses. As a result of COVID-19, the nation’s broadband usage has changed beyond recognition.
Our connectivity needs have shifted and now centre around the home – with many households needing to work, school, entertain and even exercise, all in the same space.
What’s more, broadband has become a lifeline between households, with families conversing over zoom, whatsapp and other platforms, like never before.
We have all had to change, and quickly, to reflect the current situation.
As an industry, we have worked together to ensure we are keeping communities connected at this vital time. Providers, contractors and other organisations have worked swiftly and safely to make sure homes across the UK are able to have the conversations they want, and need, right now.
Over the last month, our teams of key workers have shown such skill, dedication and resolve, working tirelessly to provide broadband infrastructure.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have supported one of our clients by connecting over 5,000 residents and businesses.
And it’s not just homes that we have helped at this time, we have supported organisations that are carrying out vital services in response to COVID-19. At the start of the outbreak, we bolstered the broadband network for an NHS call centre, to allow its teams to handle more calls during this unprecedented time. We have also connected NHS workers, care workers along with people in the community that are now relying hugely on being connected.
This all comes at a time, when Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, reported that half of all Britons have come across false or misleading information regarding coronavirus, including conspiracy theories regarding 5G and its links to the coronavirus.
This has sadly resulted in damage to parts of the networks we work on – and right now any break in service – can be a stressful and worrying time for households. Working collaboratively with our clients, our teams have been quick to repair damage.
At Kier, we also operate and manage a 24-hour service that includes the rectification of damaged fibre infrastructure from third parties, the most recent impacting over 6,000 properties in Scotland. Below is an example of where a vital supply network was struck by a vehicle and within 36 hours of it being reported, we had reinstated the system and the broadband service to the local community.
At a time when we cannot carry out normal daily tasks, like visiting loved ones or meeting with friends, our industry has provided a solution and we have enabled families and friends to share quality time together, virtually.”