Visitors to the North East’s newest tourist attraction will be able to stay connected – following the latest win by a popular technology company.
The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, opened at Once Brewed on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park on 29 July. With exhibitions, learning and event spaces, café, shop and youth hostel – all with different technological requirements.
And now those many requirements have been met, thanks to Gateshead’s award-winning Aspire Technology Solutions.
The company – which provides a whole range of services to organisations across the UK – was awarded the tender to look after all the connectivity services at the £14.8 million state-of-the-art visitor attraction.
Sarah Glynn, Sill manager, revealed that Aspire had beaten both local and national IT companies to secure the contract to supply a fast internet connection.
“Installing an enterprise-grade internet connection in such a rural location as The Sill is a challenge and you also have to take into account the historic sensitivity of working within the Hadrian’s Wall corridor which is a UNESCO World Heritage site,” she comments.
“Aspire considered and addressed all these factors and worked patiently with our partners to provide the high-performance connection we need for visitors to The Sill, including YHA guests, our rural business hub tenants and staff based on site.”
Keith Watson, account manager at Aspire Technology Solutions, revealed that there were a number of aspects which had to be taken into account when creating the perfect solution.
“We knew we were up against some very tight timescales to deliver the ultra-fast connectivity required and also that we were working in a rural location,” says Keith.
“We had to be sympathetic to the ancient monuments in the area when routing the connections and upgrading existing capacity at the exchange to deliver the connectivity.”
Aspire worked closely with all of the partners involved which included BT Openreach, Virgin and the contractors, project-managing the entire operation to ensure that everything was up and running in time for the opening.
The work included the installation of two connections to provide a high-speed internet service to the various areas of the business and also providing fit-for-purpose connectivity for the proposed telephone system.
Stuart Evans, head of corporate services for Northumberland National Park Authority, adds: “The provision of state-of-the-art broadband to the North East’s rural areas is absolutely essential to realise the economic and educational potential of The Sill.
“The provision of broadband speeds of up to 10 times faster than superfast broadband means that the visitor experience in rural Northumberland will equal that of central London.
“This means our universities, colleges and visiting schools will be able to study at The Sill in confidence and businesses operating from The Sill will receive a competitive advantage. This excellent broadband and Wi-Fi facility will also help to realise our aim of creating 120 additional jobs as a result of the Sill project.”
Spearheaded by Northumberland National Park Authority with support from partners and funders including YHA (England & Wales), and thanks to money raised by National Lottery players through a £7.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), The Sill is a unique visitor attraction for the region.
It will help more people explore the landscape of the National Park and has a target of at least 100,000 visitors annually.
The Sill contract win is the latest in a long list for Aspire, which has grown from a modest organisation with a handful of staff to a multi-million pound business with clients across the UK.
The company provides a range of managed services, specialising in hosted services, data centre solutions, communication and traditional IT support.
Main image credit: Langshot Photography