Helping make bath a 21st-Century digital city

Bath Business Park serves several innovative and thriving businesses with its high-quality, adaptable offices and warehousing. Lessees benefit from its popular location just outside Bath, superb operational support services and flexible leasing opportunities.

At the beginning of 2014, the park faced a challenge: they were struggling with the demands of tenant businesses needing faster internet speeds. The site could only receive slower broadband speeds and in some areas of the park the speeds were as low as one megabyte (MB), which simply wasn’t fast enough.

As a community, the park looked at all the options they thought were available to them: they lobbied the council, spoke to their MP and discussed a solution with BT. Unfortunately, no one would make a firm commitment to help them find an answer.

More than this, providing the speeds required meant delivery of a bigger pipe to be shared across the park, which was something no company was willing to fight for, even though some services were literally available across the road. Then Gradwell Communications proposed its broadband options.

Gradwell met Clive Seager, technical director at Revolution Education, which operates out of the business park, to discuss bringing in a fibre solution. Gradwell’s position was that deploying a fibre network for business telecommunication is not fundamentally dissimilar to the way other power source networks are deployed.

Connection speed has improved in a very short time since Gradwell delivered its fibre solution – and the tenant businesses are happy

However, it’s a model that hasn’t been fully embraced for business expansion outside loosely defined district limits within metropolitan areas and it can be more costly.

Gradwell’s eventual solution involved deploying a hybrid fibre and wireless installation, which could provide 100MB of fibre to the businesses in the park, along with high throughput point-to-point wireless installations connecting properties where direct fibre could not easily be laid. Connection speed has improved in a very short time since Gradwell delivered its fibre solution – and the tenant businesses are happy.

Amanda Canning from ViewPoint Photography and Film says: “Our business moved to the Bath Business Park when first built. The site was not supported by fibre broadband and with no specific timescale for BT to bring in fibre, we contacted Gradwell to look at options for our company.

“We had fibre installed at the end of 2014 and it has transformed how we work with our clients. Instead of sending our files on hard drives or DVDs, we can now send the majority of our data, via the internet, in a very short period of time. This ensures our clients receive their photographs or films faster and they are easily accessible and transferrable to colleagues.”

Mr Seager from Revolution adds: “By considering the park as a whole, each individual business has hugely benefitted from 21st-century fibre-optic connection speeds without the traditional costs that would be involved with each business installing and leasing fibre by themselves. Our upload speed is now typically 50 times faster than it was before the Gradwell installation.”

Peter Gradwell, chief technical officer, concludes: “The Bath tech and business community is a thriving one, and we treated the Bath Business Park as a community project. This was a pioneering set-up and treating the business park as a whole led to a much more cost-effective installation, as delivering individual fibre services to each building would have inflated the costs massively.”