DIY broadband fibre for Humber lifeguards

A lifeguard crew were literally forced to dig their own fibre-optic cables, after BT decided that it was too remote a location to lay down next-generation broadband.

The Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI) in Humber, a tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England, completed the groundwork for a 100Mbps fibre-optic broadband link after BT said it was not commercially viable enough to provide a service.

The lifeguard crew dug their own fibre as they control the land due to living and working there. It followed European models where capital costs were reduced if people laid their own fibre-optic cabling.

Next-generation broadband company Fibrestream decided to help the lifeguards in the area to get broadband connectivity due to a long-standing relationship with RNLI Humber superintendent coxswain Dave Steenvoorden.

"We use a fibre technology called fibre wireless. We use fibre islands and distribute high-bandwidth microwave technology," said Fibrestream operations director Simon Davison.

"We're not constricted by the same realms and technologies that the main providers are. We can pick and choose the technology, as well as the delivery method we wish to use."

The RNLI needed the high capacity bandwidth capacity for instant reports'. When an incident is reported offshore it needs enough information to get to the crew members, who could be risking their lives.