Bridgend man hails the benefits of superfast broadband at home
20 March 2017
A man from Cefn Glas is getting behind a new campaign to promote the benefits of superfast broadband and encourage its further adoption across Bridgend County Borough.
Lee Ralph is supporting the Welsh Government campaign after seeing first-hand how a superfast internet service transformed his home life and helped boost his photography business.
With conventional broadband speeds not fast enough to support his family’s internet use, Lee switched to superfast as soon as it became available. Now he can upload hundreds of large image files while his 15-year-old son plays online games and watches YouTube channels such as Yogscast without interfering with the household’s internet connection.
Lee, who set up photography company Image IQ nine years ago, specialises in commercial, corporate and product photography. Running his studio and editing suite from a converted garage at his home, Lee realised he needed a superfast connection to be able to share files with his clients quickly.
He said: “Having my home and work in one place is great, I don’t have to commute or worry about renting office space. But it does mean when my son’s watching YouTube videos or my wife is browsing online, my ability to work online used to be affected. Now we can download films, stream TV and not worry about waiting for websites to load or iPlayer buffering because we can all be connected at the same time without interrupting each other.
“It’s also meant I can catch up with my parents who live three hours away and organise family get-togethers on Skype through a much clearer picture. I used to have to put up with seeing blurry pixels of their faces and the connection cutting out, but now it feels like they’re in the same room. It’s amazing how you can keep in touch with people today; it’s such a far cry from the days of dial-up where you had to yell at someone to get off the phone because you wanted to send an email!
“Running my business from home means being able to upload work onto cloud websites is a huge priority. I remember one time I was trying to upload more than 800 images of a jewellery collection I had photographed. It took so long I had to run the upload overnight, only to find the next day that my connection had dropped in the early hours of the morning. It was so frustrating and stressful I just knew I needed something more reliable.
“Now, instead of lying awake in bed worrying the connection has dropped and having to creep down to the studio in my pyjamas to check it’s still working, I can finish uploading well before bedtime and just relax with my family.”
With almost 89 per cent of the Superfast Cymru roll-out programme complete in Bridgend County Borough, the Welsh Government Superfast broadband campaign is aiming to promote superfast broadband to residents to demonstrate its benefits and encourage its further use across the county.
While most of the county can now access faster broadband should they wish to do so, a small percentage of premises are not yet able to access it. Assistance is also available for them on the Welsh Government website or by contacting the Welsh Government broadband team.
Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, said: “While the majority of homes in Bridgend can now access superfast broadband should they wish, many people are simply not fully aware of its benefits or how it can be accessed. As Lee’s story shows, faster broadband speeds are enabling families and individuals to carry out their activities with greater speed and efficiency than ever before, and on multiple devices. This includes activities such as downloading large learning resources for children, managing bank accounts, shopping for groceries, paying household bills or using video services such as Skype.
“We want as many people as possible to realise these benefits, and this campaign is aiming to showcase how the technology is impacting thousands of lives in communities across Wales.”
Households and businesses in Bridgend wanting to take advantage of the benefits of fast fibre broadband should contact an internet service provider (ISP) of their choice to place an order.
To find out what broadband is available, people are advised to visit www.gov.wales/broadband. This also includes information for those not yet able to receive superfast broadband as support may be available through the Welsh Government's Access Broadband Cymru scheme, which provides grant funding to access superfast broadband through other means.
Representatives from Welsh Government will also be on hand to chat to local people about Superfast broadband at Maesteg Market on 31 March.