Pig farmer embarks on broadband business
09:35 03 September 2014
A Norfolk businessman has gone from pig farming to founding a growing broadband company.
Richard Dix spent his youth on a farm in Heacham, but when the margins of indoor pig farming got tough, he utilised his love for computers and converted a pig house into an office, launching a tech-support company called Positive Computing in 2000.
Later, Richard recognising the need for effective internet connections and satellite broadband in farming, contacted a distributor and started selling broadband services.
In 2011, Richard moved out of IT support to solely operate as a broadband company, purchasing the domain name Ruralbroadband.co.uk.
He said “I’ve been involved in computing since the early 80s, I was one of the geeks who used to stay behind after school to use the one computer they had.
“It was difficult to get the business started, as at that time satellite technology was immature and uptake was low.
“Internet is hugely important to farming, things like cattle passports and DEFRA paperwork all have to be registered online now.”
As satellite technology has become cheaper and more effective in delivering higher amounts of data, Rural Broadband has been doing extraordinarily well.
With 200 satellite customers the firm has grown from £180,000 in 2011 to £500,000 today.
Rural Broadband also stays abreast of other technologies such as Wi-Fi and mobile services like 3G.
The company will soon start to work on the emerging 4G network and can also provide a better service to certain rural areas, such as those with high satellite latency.
Many farms have a mile of phone line before even reaching BT, and in cases like these Rural Broadband stays ahead of the game by offering multiple services.
The company operates countrywide, providing services to clients from farmers in Heacham to Glasgow University. They’ve also managed Wi-Fi hotspots for events and venues, most recently at Norfolk’s own Sundown Festival.