UK farmer builds his own signal mast to overcome 1 Mbps rural internet speedsBy Rob Thubron 22 comments
A UK farmer who spent years having to endure an "unbearably" slow internet connection has decided to take action by building his very own 4G signal mast.
Richard Guy from Salisbury, Wiltshire, discovered that his smartphone's 4G signal was producing a significantly faster internet connection speed than his 1 Mbps home broadband. So the 60-year-old farmer, who has worked in I.T. since the eighties, began looking at ways to direct the wireless signal straight into his remote farmhouse.
Guy decided that the best course of action was to construct his own signal mast and connect it to his home through a fibre optic cable. He fitted a 4G adaptor, powered by a 12-volt battery, to the wooden mast and sealed both devices inside waterproof toolboxes for protection. In order to keep the battery topped up, Guy attached two small solar panels to wooden mounting boards.
After finding the strongest local 4G signal on some farmland just over half a mile away from his house, Guy planted his home-made mast and connected it to his residence using the relatively cheap fibre optic cable. The result was a "perfect" internet connection speed of 69 Mbps.
Speaking about his previous slow broadband speeds, Guy said: "It's a big problem for people in rural areas. The Government told us that the Olympics would bring fast broadband to everyone in Britain. Well, the Olympics were some time ago now. The world assumes that everyone is online, but the 5 per cent who can't connect are just dismissed. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. We only had a 1 Mbps speed, which means everything is far too slow. Now I run at 69 Mbps, it runs everything perfectly."
69 Mbps is an impressive speed in a country where the national average is around 25 Mbps. The project has been so successful, Guy and his wife, Gilly, have now set up their own company called Agri-broadband, which looks at ways of applying his solution to some of Britain's most rural homes.
"I just love seeing the expression on someone's face when you show them it's possible that they, having been left out in the middle of nowhere, can get serious broadband. But I turn up in a dirty Range Rover and this old geezer gets out and people think 'he's not going to solve this'. I think they're expecting some young techie, but then it works and they're amazed."
Guy said Agri-broadband's next customer will have a specialist trench dug on his farm in order to improve his 0.4 Mbps connection, adding: "He's trying to run a business on that, so he's delighted."
For more details on Guy's do-it-yourself high speed internet, check out the video below.
Image credit: Kevin Eaves / Shutterstock