AVDIS is a small veterinary teleradiology business from home. Primarily they report CT and MRI images sent by specialist veterinary practices around the UK. Because of the clinical nature of the cases the reporting is very important and should arrive in a timely fashion. Indeed, some of the cases require an urgent answer as the vet is waiting for a response to inform the next step in their diagnostic or treatment plan. A decision as to whether to take a pet to surgery may be determined by the results of its scan.
How did you find running a business with poor broadband?
The business ran inefficiently as I could not guarantee to be able to work at the times I intended if I was unable to download images in a timely fashion. On occasions I had to travel elsewhere purely for the purpose of downloading some studies for work. It was impossible for us to run the business and the household to use the internet at the same time which caused a lot of frustration in the university holidays. I have invested a lot of time over the past 5 years or so trying to lobby for a better rural broadband connection.
Since making the switch to full fibre, what significant differences has it made?
The most important change for me with high-speed broadband is the time (and reliability) of downloading large image files. Previously download times for large CT image files (which are 1000s, occasionally over 10000 images) could be several hours. On occasions it was not possible to download a file at all as the entire file has to be downloaded successfully before the study can be viewed and the process would keep timing out before the images had been received.
We went from 2mbps to in excess of 100mbps with full fibre. I think we underestimated how much additional stress poor broadband added to our lives. Everything took so much longer, and you could not be sure you would be able to complete the task. We were often having to call the provider to complain if the service was so slow that it wasn’t functional.
Could you explain why Fibre broadband is important to your business’s operations?
Fast download speeds are important so that we can access the CT studies quickly and provide a rapid response. Also, both my wife and I use online meetings to keep in touch with colleagues around the world and previously it was impossible to use any form of video meeting as the bandwidth was too poor.
The quality of interaction is massively improved if you can see the other meeting members. My wife also volunteers on phone lines, and this is all done using VOIP – previously this was almost impossible from home as the quality of the call was so poor that the other party could not hear what was being said.
Being a home-based business, how does better broadband impact the wider household?
The faster broadband has had a massive impact on the wider household. We have 2 daughters still living at home who are at university and require extensive access to the internet for study, including streaming lectures, daily tutor video-based meetings and accessing online resources.
During lockdown our eldest daughter was also at home and is a primary school teacher who was teaching remotely 4 days a week. We were unable to have more than 1 person using any form streaming at a time so we would have to work around one another depending on who had a timed deadline.
In one sentence, how would you describe your new broadband?
The new service has been fast and, so far, is reliable. It has transformed the working environment at home and in fact we no longer think about the internet. The new service is also cheaper than our previous contract.
“Access to fast and reliable broadband is an essential part of any business. The ability to operate effectively from our home base has significantly improved our efficiency as a business. ”
Fraser McConnell, Owner of AVDIS Ltd
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