Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. The trouble is you do not know whether they are going to or not. I was back out on the superfast broadband trail. We’ve been holding some launch events to improve take up, or at least to raise awareness. The projections are looking great and we are well on the way to achieving what we set out to do – to have effective broadband across the whole County that the public is making use of.
Now when I say launch events that is a bit of a misnomer. We hold the event a little while after the services have been made available so that when people come along we can let them now that they can already avail themselves of the services. It is up to them which provider they settle with.
So this time we were at Frosterley, in the Village Hall. It was a lovely location with plenty of room to set up our stalls and lay out our wares. There was also plenty of street furniture outside to fasten our banners to in order to attract the passing public. We do a good line in cable ties.
For those of you who are not from round here, Frosterley is in the beautiful Weardale between Wolsingham to the east and Stanhope to the West. The exchange there serves many properties in all directions. Again it is a further step up the dales and a further step away from the bright lights of Durham. The enablement of Frosterley exchange for superfast broadband is good news. Our plans are working.
The event at Wolsingham had been one of the busiest we had had. No sooner had the doors of the church hall been flung open than there was a steady stream of potential customers. At one time we had people waiting to be seen. Frosterley was very different however. A torrent became the merest of trickles. In hindsight we could have questioned the validity of going there. It is a wonderful thing. The ration of employees to customers was too high.
So what was different? We’d used the same methodology to publish the event. It followed the same format as all of the others. It had the same people involved yet the two events were like chalk and cheese in terms of the numbers of attendees.
Well, it was the middle of August. A lot of people were away on holiday. None of the politicians, members of Parliament nor Councillors, were available to come along. Also the news was out. Many people have already subscribed to an upgrade and word travels fast in the tight knit communities that you find up the in the dales. Perhaps the event at Wolsingham had broken the seal. The news had spread and so people did not feel the need to come along. The Wolsingham event was closer to the centre of the town than the Frosterley one. Perhaps people were able to pop in as part of getting their messages, while at this last event they would have had to make a specific journey.
Who knows why the two events were polls apart. I don’t think we’ll ever find out. Often though, the fact that we put one on is sufficient to stimulate demand, irrespective of turnout. The last of the Weardale events will be at Stanhope at the end of September
I hope it is a busy one.