Just 44 postcodes out of 1.7m are using optimum broadband speeds, Ofcom figures show.Analysis of internet speeds suggests that a tiny minority of British households are accessing the “gigabit speed” broadband, which is more than 20 time faster than the current average. The analysis by the Financial Times suggests that there are only 44 postcodes that are accessing average speeds of 1GBit/s, just three of which are in urban areas. The internet speed, seen as the benchmark for fast broadband in the future, is also offered by some providers as “hyperoptic” broadband and outstrips the superfast and ultrafast speeds commonly offered by mainstream internet companies. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––Many of the areas with the fastest broadband in the country are in remote areas, including rural parts of of Lancashire and Oxfordshire. Some northern areas are covered by B4RN, or Broadband for the Rural North, a community-led organisation that offers the fast connection to households in its coverage area for £30 a month. Its area currently covers a portion of the rural north-west, from south of Lancaster to north of Kendal, in the Lake District. Residents installed the cables themselves by digging trenches and pooled their resources in 2011 to fund the project. According to Ofcom, rural areas make up most of the five per cent of homes which are still unable to access superfast broadband, which is usually at speeds of anything up to 80Mb.The Government pledged to ensure that 95 per cent of homes would be able to access these speeds by the end of December last year. In January then-secretary of state for digital culture, media and sport Matt Hancock said the £1.7 billion programme had been successful. The extremely fast gigabit broadband requires fibre optic cables to be laid directly to be the building which is to be connected to the network. This differs from standard superfast broadband, which involves fibre optic cables being laid to the street cabinet with older copper cables making up the rest of the distance to the home. The National Infrastructure Commission has also warned that some rural areas risk being left out of plans to roll out high-speed fibre broadband across the country.The Commission’s report, published earlier this month, also said that copper wires should be switched off within seven years, and a full fibre internet network should be rolled out by 2033. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Last month it urged the Government to subsidise its installation in areas where it is less economically viable for private companies. The Telegraph has been campaigning for better broadband in line with modern business and social requirements which mean it is an indispensible utility.Rural businesses have said they are being held back by an inability to access fast, reliable internet, which limits their ability to set up online shops and communicate with clients and customers. The FT said its data was based on Ofcom’s information and relates to the speeds that households were actually accessing. Openreach said 17.5m homes and businesses were able to upgrade to faster broadband services. However, rural areas are still neglected, with a recent report by the Local Government Association warning that residents outside cities were struggling with slow speeds.
Safety and operational reliability are key for equipment that operates on mines, and even more so when this machinery is responsible for the vertical movement of personnel. SA French will supply two Saltec T1 0.5 t passenger hoists to copper mines in Zambia. The two hoists will facilitate the movement of personnel, together with light tools and equipment, up the shaft headgear framework. Louw Smit, sales manager at SA French, says that the order was secured as a turnkey contract which includes the supply, installation and commissioning of the two hoists at two different mines in the region. “Vertical transport solutions always need to comply with stringent safety parameters and the Saltec passenger hoists incorporate advanced security systems including a speed regulator and an overspeed emergency braking system on an independent pinion,” Smit says. These features will ensure that mine personnel are able to undertake maintenance activities safety and efficiently, optimising the productivity on the mines. Smit says that the integral emergency brake on the Saltec hoist will bring the cabin to a gradual stop in the event of overspeed conditions during descent. The Saltec hoists will be installed to reach a maximum height of 72 m and will be programmed to stop at five different levels on the headgear frame. Manufactured by Torgar, Saltec passenger and material hoists feature rack and pinion drives ensuring reliable operation. This type of system also requires minimum maintenance and is considered the safest for vertical travel. Constructed as a heavy duty elevator which is engineered to operate under the worst conditions, the Saltec hoist is manufactured from hot dipped galvanised steel and aluminium. The high strength cabin is equipped with loadcells to avoid overloading, while the sophisticated electronic control system has a functional user-friendly panel. “SA French has a long association with customers on the African continent, both in the mining and construction sectors, and has a sound understanding of the often harsh operating conditions in which the equipment has to function,” Smit says. “This enabled us to recommend the optimum vertical transport solution to the mines.”