Bay Broadband Co-operative
The Bay Broadband Co-operative provides a broadband facility to the residents and visitors of Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire. The members enjoy a reliable and high quality broadband connection through a wi fi mesh of up to 8 meg. Members pay £5 a month for the service. The co-operative survives on its income and is currently making a sustainable profit.
How does it work
The broadband signal is purchased from one of a number of suppliers (currently NYnet) and comes into the sytem at Whitby via fibre. This is purchased as a business package and has a very low contention ratio compared with standard domestic lines. The signal is broadcast out (over a 7 mile radius) and reinforced through about 30 strategically placed repeaters in the village and surrounding area. Once set up, apart from occasional glitches (modem hit by lightening, local power failure etc.) the system runs by itself and has proved to be very reliable.
Who can use it
Over 150 members get the signal direct as the system is configured to identify their computer. We are also very pleased to provide a service to visitors to the area, who can purchase a temporary connection to the system for between £3 a day to £10 a week.
How is it managed
The members have formed a company limited by Guarantee. All full time users are automatically members. There is no formal committee or Board. The company has several named Directors, a company secretary and a treasurer. All members are invited to well attended open weekly meetings, held in the local pub every Thursday evening. Only the first meeting in the month is minuted – the rest are deemed informal. There is a core of about 12 members who regularly turn up to most meetings and form an informal “executive”.
Informal meetings have become useful in sharing information and advice about the use of computers and the internet. They have become part of the social life of the community! In between meetings the work of installing new members and coping with any technical problems is dealt with by a Technical team” of volunteers. Admin is shared out at the meetings and the members keep in touch through email during the week.