The only techie in the village! IT expert upgrades locals’ ‘hopeless’ broadband

An IT expert fed up of slow broadband in his Suffolk village has set up his own wireless system that now returns the locals speeds 100 times faster than those big firms can muster.

Rob Anderson, 47, set up his WISP in 2014 for the residents of Iken, where the offering now is up to 25Mbps, versus an oft-complained about 0.25Mbps from the usual operators.

As chief technology officer of a card payment firm with offices in London and Ipswich, Anderson became painfully familiar with the slow speeds when he had to work from home.

But thanks to two pubs he enlisted, The Plough & Sail and The Crown, both in the nearby hamlet of Swale -- where good Wi-Fi via underground cables is achievable, the buffering is no more.

In fact, a reported 75% of Iken’s homes are happily online with Bootstrap Broadband, thanks to a fast connection at the former pub, and a beamed signal to a transmitter in the latter pub.

“The relay transmitter then beams the signal back across the river to Iken Cliffs and from there we distribute it around [the village],” says Anderson, Bootstrap’s self-described “main instigator.”

“The transmitters will work over long distances, but only if there is a clear line of site. Trees are our biggest problem here. [But] if you can see one of our existing customers from your property, then we can connect you.

“We can install the transmitter on an outbuilding if necessary, or even on a tree, or on a post at the bottom of the garden. The transmitter needs to be within 40m of a power socket.”

Although there is £90 installation charge, the fees are competitive too -- starting from just £25 for the basic package, and there’s no minimum contract and no cancellation notice period.

One Iken resident reflected to the Daily Telegraph: “We used various companies – Sky, TalkTalk and BT, but whoever we were with and whatever they promised we never got more than 0.5Mbps. It was hopeless.”

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