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Last Friday, the lifeboat crew at Spurn Point, on the tip of the Humber estuary's north bank, got started on installing their own next-generation broadband cable.
The seven-strong Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew and their families — Spurn Point is a full-time station — had been stuck on dial-up-quality radio connectivity, getting download speeds of just 44-150Kbps, superintendent coxswain Dave Steenvoorden told ZDNet UK on Tuesday, adding that the station was not even within range of 3G services.
"Without getting too political, we didn't get any help from BT," Steenvoorden said. "They were sending us all the advertising through the post for fast broadband, and each time we approached them they said we were not compatible, and they could only offer a maximum of 250Kbps. We're an absolute notspot."
Help came from Fibrestream, the company that supplies the RNLI station with its radio-based broadband. The firm, which has handled several community broadband projects, got together with its suppliers and provided the necessary materials for free, while the crew members and other locals provided the labour for digging the trenches.