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Broadband Britain Challenge Champions Announced
Saturday 13 September 2003 02:14:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

The Royal Horticultural Halls in London was the venue for the VIP award ceremony for the finals in the Broadband Britain Challenge held on the night of September 12th. The challenge has been travelling around the country this summer trying to find the local broadband champions who have made innovative use of DSL technologies to make their own day-to-day life easier as well as helping others in the community.

In total, 21 people and organisations were named as broadband champions in the six regional categories of Businesses, Home users, Youth, Education, Public Sector and Voluntary/NFP/Charity.

Philippa Winterburn, head of broadband marketing at BT Wholesale said: "DSL broadband usage in Britain has now passed the 1.25 million mark and we are committed to making this high speed technology as widely available as possible. We hope that the stories of the Champions will encourage others to harness the variety of resources now available through DSL broadband."

The national winners (champions) and runners up (challengers) were each presented with a trophy as follows:

Education Sector
 
National Champion - Semple Piggot Rochez, London
Semple Piggot Rochez is a law firm recognised for its pioneering internet-based law training programmes. With the help of DSL broadband provided by Mistral, it has recently established the world's first online law degree programmes. This means that international students who are reading law for the University of London, can study from their home whether they live in London, Singapore or the USA. www.spr-law.com

National Challenger - Mass Mitec, Market Harborough
Mass Mitec uses DSL broadband to deliver interactive international virtual seminars, workshops and conferences over the internet from its base in Lubenham, Market Harborough. DSL broadband is provided by BT Openworld. www.massmitec.co.uk
 

Education Sector (Schools) National Champion - Belfast Model School for Girls
Paula Leitch uses DSL broadband to run the school which is an all-ability secondary school located in North Belfast. DSL broadband, supplied by BT, allows her to teach pupils new curriculum courses and to run an after school homework club for revision purposes. www.modelschoolforgirls.org.uk
 
Voluntary, Charity,
Not for Profit Sector
 
National Champion - Democratic Dialogue, Belfast
This think-tank organisation is dedicated to the continuing challenge of political accommodation in NI and to the social and economic environment. Through DSL broadband technology provided by BT Openworld, Democratic Dialogue can quickly download documents, conduct research and communicate with its many members. www.democraticdialogue.org

National Challenger - CSV Media Clubhouse, Middlesbrough
CSV Media Clubhouse is a UK Online Centre that offers training to local people who have little or no computer skills. The Centre provides unlimited access to the internet, combined with learning opportunities in ICT and Digital Media Tools. www.csv.org.uk

National Challenger - Western Counties Swimming Association, Dorset
This regional association promotes swimming, diving, water polo, open water, masters, plus disabled and synchronised swimming in the West of England. DSL broadband, provided by BT, helped them launch one of the most innovative sports websites in the UK in January 2003.
 

Public Sector National Champion - Highlands and Islands Arts Journal, Inverness
This arts company, (HI~Arts), uses Demon Broadband services from Thus plc to communicate information, training and opportunities to both the arts sector and to audiences throughout Scotland and across the rest of the world
www.hi-arts.co.uk

National Challenger - Derwentside Council, Derwentside
Following the introduction of DSL broadband in the local library, the community of Derwentside has seen an increase in both enjoyment and learning from the web. Broadband is provided by ISP provider Derwentside. www.derwentside.org.uk

National Challenger - The People's Network, Hillingdon, London
The People's Network is a lottery funded project to connect all public libraries to the internet. The Hillingdon branch has utilised DSL broadband technology to successfully link Hillingdon Council's 17 libraries to all the schools, youth clubs and leisure centres in the borough, providing the community with e-learning programmes and a 24-hour online information service. www.peoplesnetwork.gov.uk
 

Business Sector
(up to 250 employees)
 
National Champion - Tyne Tees Television, Newcastle
www.signpostbsl.com is the only fully bi-lingual English sign language website in the world. DSL broadband is provided by internet service provider, K Class.

National Challenger - Rowette Insurance Broking Group, Cornwall
Based in St. Austel, this company was one of the first businesses in Cornwall to use DSL broadband. Rowett Insurance recognises the vital role communications play in the success of their business. DSL broadband, provided by Actnow, allows them to further improve the service they offer to both their clients and insurers. www.rowett-insurance.co.uk

National Challenger - Spero Communications, East London
This creative consultancy has created a unique, fully interactive broadband-enabled web TV environment that provides access to a wide spectrum of bespoke 3D online channels. This has been possible with the use of DSL broadband technology provided by their internet service provider, Plusnet. www.sperocom.co.uk
 

Youth Sector
(Max age:26)

 
National Champion - Daniel Rajkumar, Wakefield
22 year-old Daniel created a small business, Web-Translations, which helps companies globalise their business, as soon as he left university and now communicates with thousands of people all over the world via DSL broadband delivered to his home by Tiscali. www.web-translations.co.uk

National Challenger - Jenny Worrall, Chester
This 14-year old whiz-kid with a passion for pop music uses DSL broadband, provided by BT, to stream music, design websites and graphics of the popular Clioonline and Popbliss networks.

National Challenger - Tim Davies, Waterlooville
18 year old Tim, uses DSL broadband provided by Pipex, to run his own web-design business. He designs database driven websites for local community and statutory sector organisations and has also designed and maintains the technology and content behind the local Borough Council's 'YouthBeat.net' youth website.
 

Home User National Champion - Muzanya-Danie Sisya, Camberwell, London
Last year, Muzanya was involved in a road traffic accident. After his accident he used DSL broadband to browse the web to look for a physiotherapist. Through DSL broadband he also was able to use the interactive exercises and get help and advice from physiotherapists from all over the world. Muzanya is an AOL Broadband member.

National Challenger - Ruth Warnett, Andover
Ruth runs an agency for sending musicians from around the world to work on cruise ships and in hotels. She uses DSL broadband, provided by BT, to regularly update the site's content from home and has also attached a 24-hour online shop selling music related gifts and clothes.

National Challenger - Patrick Lidstone, North London
Patrick uses DSL broadband to access his 'automatic home' from wherever he happens to be, at any time. His DSL broadband connection provided by Andrews and Arnold, allows him to set his video recorder from any web browser, access his home security system, programme his heating, browse through his CD collection and also to work from home.

Awards were also presented on the national level to:

National Corporation Champion - Nestor Healthcare Group plc
Regional Partnership Champion - Act Now
Runner up - Connecting Caerphilly
Local Campaigners Champion - Pete Berry (Broadband4Grimsby)
Runners up:
- Colin Devonport (Broadband for Shildon)
- George Hill (Broadband Banwell)
- Les Cashin (The Peebles Broadband Action Group)

The challenge was supported by BT Wholesale on behalf of the whole ISP community. It was not confirmed whether a similar challenge will be running next year, but we more people join the broadband revolution, increasingly innovative uses will no doubt make this a tougher challenge. To see videos of the regional award ceremonies, go here. :) [seb]

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