This rating is similar to hotel ‘star’ ratings. Conwy and Deganwy Marianas are the only two ‘5 Gold Anchor’ marinas in North Wales and two of three across the whole of Wales. Worldwide there are only 99 ‘5 Gold Anchor’ award marinas.
Part of the criteria for the 5 Gold Anchor award is the services and ambience the marinas offer, one specific criteria is wireless internet.
Previously, Conwy Marina had a basic internet service using a standard copper ADSL line. The standalone ADSL wasn’t coping with the increase in demand. Conwy Marina has 500 berths with a further 165 at Deganwy, which remained at high occupancy despite the recent recession.
Jon Roberts, Area Manager explained,
“Ten years ago no one asked for broadband, now people expect it. People want the best kind of service from us. We provide excellent local tourist information; both marinas are accessible, smart with lots of local amenities and shops. Having Conwy town centre, a World Heritage Site, on our doorstep is a great attraction. The quality of the broadband service didn’t match the quality of the other services we provide. We noticed for the last few years there has been an increase in demand for faster broadband; people have started to consider it as part of their decision making process when choosing somewhere to stay and specifically for us, how long they berth for.”
Quay Marinas Ltd decided to upgrade their WiFi network and broadband. They approached three businesses and asked them to present their services. AirAngel were chosen to build the WiFi network and provide the internet portal with ITS selected as AirAngel’s connectivity partner to provide the superfast internet backhaul.
Conwy Marina now boosts 50Mbps of broadband speed with the ability to increase to 100Mbps when there is a demand. A powerful business class service similar to a leased line. A 1:1 fibre connection is taken straight from the marina back to ITS’s North and Mid Wales network.
Jon Roberts said,
“The WiFi network and superfast broadband is very stable. Since is it was installed in August 2015 we have not had any issues. There are nine access points (WAPs) that can be monitored via a web portal to check they are online. We provide guests of the marina with tickets based on how long they are staying for so they have free access to this fantastic broadband service. We expect thousands of devices to log on over the next few months.”
The marina team have seen how faster broadband has changed the way people use the marina.
“We have noticed that people now extend their stay in Conwy and Deganwy. People come down on Thursday to stay on their boats and work on-board Friday so they are here ready for the weekend. A good, quick, strong signal and a much improved system than the previous one and provided for free which is always fully appreciated” – Lawrence Jordan boat ‘Good Rockin’ berth F-37.
The more time people are able to spend on their boats because of services like superfast broadband, the more money they spend in local shops, pubs and restaurants. There has also been an increased interest in supporting events that take place in Conwy. All of the marinas marketing materials provide tourist and leisure information about the local area.
Jon said, “Having the marina has helped Conwy to thrive. Businesses have done well on the back of the marina coming here. We employ 14 people directly but it has been estimated that indirectly the figure is around 100. A study was done that showed that more than £5m was being put into the local economy.
Next year the All Wales Boat Show is returning to Conwy. We will boost the broadband to its maximum so that we can provide an extended WiFi service to support the marina’s customers. With the help of ITS we may also be able to offer WiFi to the general public for the three day extravaganza. We believe that may have an added PR benefit to Boat Show and local economy as visitors would be able to share their location and pictures in real time via social media.”
Superfast broadband means that visitors can access more local information and stay for longer.