Gigabit broadband – the future is now for Bristol’s creative & digital sectors

Kye Parkin
Communications Executive | Business West
2nd February 2018

As one of the most digitally advanced cities in the UK, Bristol is at the front of the queue when it comes to next generation broadband and mobile data speeds.

At present, the average broadband connection allows for download speeds of around 10MBps, but by 2021 this will rise to 1000MBps.

The installation of fully-fledged fibre networks across the city will not only bring ultrafast broadband to thousands of homes and businesses, connections delivered wirelessly, such as 5G mobile data coverage, will also come to fruition.

While the widespread roll out of fibre broadband is eagerly anticipated by many businesses, for digital & creative businesses in the city the future is now thanks to the introduction of Bristol City Council’s gigabit voucher scheme.

Jones Millbank – a video production and photography company based in the heart of Bristol is one of the first beneficiaries of the scheme, which provides SMEs with vouchers worth up to £3,000 in funding to help with the cost of installing gigabit broadband.

Like many digital & creative businesses in Bristol, Jones Millbank’s data requirements have escalated in recent years with the explosion of digital technologies such as ultra HD.

An average day creates around 100GB of video data for Jones Millbank and at busy times they create 2TB of data in 5 days. All of this video needs to be shared with clients and to be backed up and actively worked on via the cloud. 

Jones Millbank, Managing Director, Russell Jones explained life before gigabit broadband:

“It was painfully slow, and in a shared building with some 500 people things regularly ground to a halt. Our workflow was pretty localised, with projects worked on at individual edit suites. We utilised Google Drive’s cloud storage for small files and collaborative Word and Excel documents, but we also had a local network drive for larger shared files like sales presentations, internal graphics and such. It was basically all pretty messy and a restraint of poor internet, rather than by an intended design.

“Uploading was almost impossible, with films having to be uploaded overnight and often failing. At times we resorted to taking files home to upload from our broadband or even transferring them to our phones to upload via 4G. Our workflow changed immediately after having a gigabit line installed. Not only did we scrap our local NAS drive, moving everything to the cloud, but we also started capturing all video footage and projects to the cloud as well.”

The operational and benefits for Jones Millbank have been huge.

Projects can now be worked on from any machine, both in the office, but also anywhere in the world, which is handy given that the company spent 160 days shooting overseas last year. This has improved their internal workflow, with shared, clear folder structures, saving time and boosting productivity.

Films can now also be uploaded in minutes, meaning that clients can be updated instantly as the project progresses. This has proven a key selling point for clients Russell explains:

“We produced a film for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the client asked what unused footage we had for additional social media edits.

“Within 5 minutes the client had a link to the project’s 50GB captures folder and was able to see all the footage and watch clips themselves. Without it we would have had to buy, transfer and post a hard drive which would have taken days.”

What’s more their business continuity has improved massively as all their footage and project files are backed up to the cloud as well as an offline, off-site store, increasing speed of accessing archived projects.

“We’re slowly backing up previously archived projects to the cloud. Recently another client asked for a re-edit of a film from 2016 and within 20 minutes the editor had synced with the project from the cloud and was ready to work on it. It was actually a last-minute request for an awards evening and thanks to the cloud as well as our normal service we actually turned around the whole request, from email to delivering the final render, in under 2 hours. The client themselves also saved money as we ended up reducing our initial quote from half a day to just 2.”

Due to the positive results Russell has seen in his business he would recommend the scheme to any business, SME or registered charity in Bristol to take up the offer:

“We desperately needed a faster connection, but couldn’t get a suitable provider to give us the bandwidth we needed at a realistic price. A gigabit (1000MBps) connection for us was an absolute necessity.”

For more information on Gigabit broadband for businesses visit:

Krzysztof Kawulak
Great. What's about SouthGlos area? When may this Gigabit Voucher scheme be available outside of the City of Bristol?

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