Chris Conder MBE is one of the founding members of Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) a professionally designed fibre optic broadband network for part of the North West of England.
B4RN - Business Case Study Video Transcript
I'm Christine Conder, I'm one of the founding members of B4RN, which is Broadband for the Rural North, and I also help my husband and son to run Conders farm. We're in a beautiful part of the north of England called the Lune Valley. But because we can't get broadband from the infrastructure in this country, we've actually built our own fiber to the home network, which is now 500 miles of ducting multiplied in or dug in by the community, for the community. It just spread so fast so far, it's unbelievable really.
Good communication is one of the main things in this day and age that we need on our farm. And I've got family all over the world. I can't describe how important a telephone is to me. Because we had fibre, it meant we could go to any provider of phone services we wanted. And for us, the easiest one was Vonage. We rang them up, we could talk to human beings who were very, very helpful and we got ourselves set up with the Vonage box. All you do is you just plug it in and it just works. Then we decided we'd port our number to keep our old telephone number, and that was very simple too.
It was so clear. We had to hold the phone a bit further away from our ears because for once, we could actually hear what people were saying. And now I've got the Vonage Extension app on my mobile phone. I can take incoming calls and no matter where I go in the world; I can make free calls on that same tariff with no roaming charges.
We used to pay quite a lot of money for our phone bills. I was forever looking at the handset to see how long have I been on. With Vonage, it doesn't matter. You can talk for as long as you like. It's peanuts, really, for all the calls you can make to landline numbers. You can pay £15 a month* and all your landline calls are free and all your mobile calls are free. And all the things you have to pay a few pounds extra for on your BT or TalkTalk or whatever contracts, they're all free with Vonage. I found people made massive cost savings.
However, many communities want to dig to meters, we allowed them on to our network. And if they want to go on Vonage, we'll encourage them because it's so easy.
I would give Vonage 5 stars out of 5. I can't recommend it highly enough. I think it's absolutely wonderful.
* Prices correct at time of video recording
The problem – needed a good value phone service once broadband was set up
Most of the UK's superfast broadband is provided by BT, who have promised to deliver it to 95% of the UK by 2017. Chris is based in Lune Valley in Lancashire, a beautiful rural part of northern England which is not expected to be upgraded. She explains they founded B4RN "because we can't get broadband due to the infrastructure in this country, so we decided to build our own fibre optic network for the community."
Once the broadband was set up, she was able to shop around for a phone provider. "In this day and age, good communication is one of the main things we need, and I've got family all over the world. I can't describe how important a telephone is to me."
The solution – an easy decision to set herself up with Vonage
Chris started looking for a better deal on her phone provider immediately. "As we had fibre optic broadband, it meant we could choose from all the phone service providers – and for us, the easy choice was Vonage."
It couldn't have been simpler; "We rang them up, spoke to actual human beings and got ourselves set up with a Vonage box. All you do is plug it in and it just works. We decided we wanted to keep our old phone number, and that was simple too!"
The results – a cost-effective phone service that suits her lifestyle
Chris goes on, "We used to pay quite a lot of money for our phone bills. I was forever looking at the handset to see how long I'd been on a call. With Vonage it doesn't matter; you can talk for as long as you like. As I have the Extensions app, no matter where I go in the world I can make free calls on that same tariff with no roaming charges."
The cost is a huge advantage for Chris: "You can pay £15 a month* and all your landline and mobile calls are free; it's peanuts really. All the extra things you'd have to pay extra for on BT or TalkTalk – they're all free with Vonage. We always encourage customers to get Vonage because it's so easy. I can't recommend it highly enough; I think it's absolutely wonderful."
*Prices correct at time of video recording