BACKGROUND

Radio Plus is a community radio station in Coventry city centre that broadcasts 24/7 to a target audience of around 13,000 16-to-35-year-olds.

Station manager Tim Coleman is the founder and managing director of Coventry and Warwickshire Media Community, the not-for-profit social enterprise, which holds the licence for Radio Plus with Ofcom.

It moved to its current home at Hertford Place in March 2013 with a vision to maximise the 8,000 sq ft space by creating a community hub for small independent media-related businesses to be housed alongside the station.

CHALLENGE

When Radio Plus moved into Hertford Place, it inherited a VOIP system with a basic domestic broadband service that was threatening to inhibit the aspirations of the radio station and the business incubator.

Tim said: “We quickly had complaints that the broadband was too slow and so the pressure built to find a speedier replacement that could service everyone’s needs.

“We wanted to stream at a high-quality rate but had to start at half the speed that we’d hoped for. Even that was soaking up quite a lot of the available bandwidth so the service quickly got clogged.

“We could not have sustained ourselves if we had not been able to increase our internet speed and if we had gone for the fastest domestic broadband service we could find, the restriction would always be the upload speeds.”

SOLUTION

Radio Plus connected to Coventry network, the pure fibre network bringing ultra-fast internet speeds to the city’s business community.

Having successfully applied for a grant towards the connection cost from the government’s SuperConnected Cities voucher scheme, it signed up through service provider HBT Communications.

After evaluating the different packages on offer from Coventry network, HBT Communications recommended Gig+ as this is ideal for large media intensive organisations and provided the best solution for Radio Plus.

It now has up to gigabit speed connectivity straight into its premises, serving both the radio station and the community hub that has become a vibrant home to businesses including music producers and web/app developers.

Tim said: “Coventry network has been transformational for us and for the businesses we support. The real benefit is the upload speed and the ability to send and receive large files in real time which makes a huge difference.

“We have been able to increase to the high-quality streaming service that we were aiming for which means we can deliver a superior sound for listeners.

“We have also been able to create a virtual network with other media-related businesses that we work with around the city as we can send and receive large audio files instantaneously and have Skype conversations without any buffering.

“As well as the instantaneous benefits of faster browsing and network transfer speeds, there are the longer-term advantages of enabling us and the other businesses here to grow and achieve their potential.”

 

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