St Martin’s Business Counting Cost Of Internet Failure

Churchtown Farm

Churchtown Farm

The co-owner of St Martin’s biggest business says he’s frustrated that the island is entering a fifth day without internet access.

It’s one of the busiest times of the year for Ben Julian and his team at Churchtown farm. Ben says they are “flat out” but over half of their flower sales business now comes through their Scent from the Islands online shop.

But Ben says updating the website and dealing with emails has been challenging.

The company has worked on business continuity plans and the mobile network can be used to download messages, but as the islands are still on 2G mobile speed, there simply isn’t the bandwidth available on a phone for the needs of a business.

Ben says they appreciate that logistics are never going to be entirely straightforward when you run a business from a remote location like Scilly but he’s hoping that BT can get them online soon.

He says islands’ engineer Stuart Moore has been “superb” but as the internet signal is fed to St Martin’s using a microwave link, he’s needed specialist support and the transport issues caused by weather has hampered progress.

BT spokesman Jason Mann told Radio Scilly that Stuart’s work at the St Mary’s end of the link has not cleared the fault.

He’s going to have to go to St Martin’s to replace equipment there and he hopes to return when there is a lull in the weather, hopefully today.

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