Case study: Connected Coverdale – Howard Parr

January 2022 saw the first resident connected to the 5G via Mobile Access North Yorkshire– a £6.4million Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 5G Testbed and Trial project.

Howard Parr and his family saw speeds rocket stopping any worries he used to have that they were living on the edge.

One of the most remote houses in Carlton, Howard has lived in Coverdale for 15 years after moving to the area from Kent in search of a simpler, less stressful life.

The connectivity has always been slow and with no mobile signal, hot spotting was never an option, Howard says but ‘it was always a decent connection in terms of reliability but it has always been really slow’. This has meant Howard – who has always worked from home – found it challenging if he had to send or upload large files to central servers or video calls would freeze or become blurred but ‘ we muddled our way through’ says Howard.

 

5G enabling home working
5G enabling Freeview

 

 Now though the speed has changed their professional lives. ‘We feel like normal people’ Howard says ‘we don’t have to worry’.

To the extent, their youngest son – who moved away to university and now works in Newcastle – is envious of their speeds. ‘We actually have faster Wi-Fi than he has in the middle of Newcastle’. Howard adds ‘he (is son) is blown away by the fact that the speeds are strong enough to get through a Yorkshire stone house’.

Not only does the network ensure they can watch online streaming without the dreaded wheel of doom, it opens up new opportunities for the area.

One aspect of the MANY project is exploring how an improved connection could help GP and hospital appointments take place online. This would ensure that the more vulnerable residents of rural areas be able to stay independent for longer and stay where they want to live.

Howard took part in a four way video call. Howard says ‘I was talking to the person in the medical practice and it was absolutely great’, continuing ‘I am used to do doing video conference calls so being able to be triaged over video makes it more efficient for me and them. It means I don’t have to get in car to drive for an appointment unless I really need to go’.

The next steps for MANY is to connect more residents – which is currently taking place – whilst also trialling a mobile signal. This, says Howard, is such an important element for the area.