Dave Rodgers – Potter, Barnstaple
Dave and Dos Rodgers are a husband and wife team of potters who practise their craft from a studio at their home in the centre of Barnstaple. They use traditional skills and materials to produce a range of indoor and outdoor pots and wall motifs as well as bespoke, commissioned pieces for local businesses. They also sell their work through local art and craft galleries and at craft fairs.
Dave tried to set up an online shop too, but his broadband service wasn’t up to the job. With upload speeds of less than 0.5Mbps and download speeds of less than 1Mbps, carrying out anything more than a few, basic transactions online is impossible. Not only that, he can’t actually use the phone and the Internet at the same time, even though he pays for an ASDL broadband service. “It’s incredibly frustrating”, comments Dave, “we’re right in the town centre, but we’re served by overhead phone lines and there’s one telegraph pole with seven lines coming off for a whole row of houses. I was told to upgrade all the equipment in my home as that might be the problem, so we’ve invested in new phone lines and sockets, but still the problem persists.”
If Dave is online, trying to update his website or carry out some business banking, when the phone rings, his Internet connection just drops out, and he has to start everything over from scratch. “I now rent a mobile phone,” says Dave, “so that I can receive the required telephone authorisations for making online payments to suppliers. I’d love to have a choice and be able to switch to a cable broadband service, but unless we get some more infrastructure investment, that’s never going to happen.”
Along with many thousands of other small business owners, Dave took part in the survey being carried out for Connecting Devon and Somerset, so he knows his details have been logged and his story has been heard. The survey is open through the summer for anyone who wants to participate. You can register on the website www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk or by calling the telephone hotline on 0844 4636887.