Shropshire Pipekit firm is flushed with global success after upgrading to superfast fibre broadband
New technology being rolled out across rural Shropshire is helping small businesses to grab a bigger share of overseas markets.
According to Martyn Rowlands, managing director and founder of Pipekit Ltd, upgrading to superfast broadband has transformed the way they do business and catapulted them onto the world stage.
Over the past 12 months, the family-run firm, based in Annscroft, near Shrewsbury, has seen its turnover increase significantly – with superfast broadband seen as a key driver.
The technology has enabled the plastic pipework and drainage distributor, which employs nine people, to expand its already well-established online presence.
Martyn said: “We still have a traditional trade counter, but our website quickly became our new window on the world, helping us to showcase our products around the country and around the world. I realised when I set up the business in a rural area in a rural county that we needed to sell nationally and online was the way to do it.
“Now with superfast fibre broadband – through our provider, Shrewsbury-based Pure Telecom - we get download speeds of 70 megabits per second (Mbps) over Openreach’s network - which means we can update our website as often as we need to, without having to wait for pages and pictures to load.
“We can also stay in touch with our customers and suppliers more easily and quickly through emails and online chats. All our ordering and deliveries are done online too.
“Superfast broadband has helped us to expand in ways we could not have imagined before. The fact we’re in rural Shropshire doesn’t matter. We’re adapting to the technology that is available to us.
“As a result, we’re first choice for customers as far apart as Scotland and Singapore, with international sales now making up more than 10 per cent of our business. We’ve also seen an increase in orders from some of the more remote parts of the UK, including the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, who, like us, seem to be adapting to this new way of doing business.”
More than 198,000 businesses and homes across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of BT’s multi-million pound commercial roll-out and the company’s partnerships with the public sector.
Steve Haines, managing director for Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, said: “Fibre broadband is no longer a nice to have for business. It is a need to have. High-speed access breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower our small businesses.
“I would encourage those who can already access fibre-based broadband to contact their service provider to arrange an upgrade. It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, there is a wide choice of fibre broadband providers.”
Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Shropshire and the West Midlands, said: “Every day we hear how superfast broadband is changing people’s lives for the better. Whether it’s firms like Pipekit which are using it to tap into new markets, or families using the internet for leisure and learning – everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”
Issued by the Openreach regional press office. For more information please contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.
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Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.
Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 580 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.
Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.
Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2017, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visit openreach.co.uk