Broadband meeting, 9th December 2002

On Monday, 9th December over 30 people attended a public meeting called by the local NUJ to discuss the lack of broadband availability in Hebden Bridge.

The meeting was held in the upsairs room of the Stubbings Wharfe and the three speakers were Chris Ratcliffe (Hebden Bridge Web), Steve Morgan (freelance photographer) and Guy Ohlenschlager (Poptel internet service provider).

Steve Morgan was able to describe his experience of using broadband before moving into our area, and how important it was for freelancers as clients would now expect large files to be easily sent over the net.

Chris Ratcliffe described the campaign that the Hebden Bridge Web had been running over the past 8 months and how difficult it was to find anyone at BT who could give reasons why we have no trigger level. He also outlined other possible options which may be available now or in the near future: satellite (Silver mead are offering a £25 a month deal), electricity lines (being trialled by Scottish Hydro, cellphone 3G, and wireless.

Guy Ohlenschlager explained that some of BT’s competitors could upgrade the exchange and offer the service themselves. Poptel would be interested in doing this if there were enough local people committed to signing up. He would need around 200 home users although this number could be reduced significantly if local businesses sgned up.

Discussion centred on:

  • The practicalities of gathering enough people to persuade Poptel to commit to upgrading our exchange.
  • Whether wireless broadband might not be better for our area.