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Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (OVMRO), one of the busiest mountain rescue teams in the UK, yesterday announced the installation of satellite broadband at its headquarters in Capel Curig, in the Snowdonia National Park. Staffed by volunteers and funded by charitable donations, OVMRO provides a free 24/7 search and rescue service, 365 days of the year, to assist people in distress on the mountains and in the rivers of Northern Snowdonia. They also assist the Police, Fire Service and Ambulance service in non-mountain incidents.
Due to OVMRO's remote location, the organisation does not have access to reliable fixed line broadband and previously struggled on an intermittent land line connection of at most 128 Kbps. The unreliable connection made it difficult for the team to update live incident logs, access online team management and casualty location systems – as well as update team member positions while on incident.
To solve this issue OVMRO approached Ormesat, a Welsh re-seller and installer of Tooway Broadband Systems. Within two days of contacting Ormesat, OVMRO was equipped with reliable download speeds of around 5 Mbps thanks to funding provided by the Welsh Assembly Broadband Systems.
Tim Radford, team member and former chairman of OVMRO commented: “We knew that having a reliable broadband connection would make our jobs easier, and free up more of our time to focus on our role as a search and rescue team. Being able to quickly transfer data during rescues means that we can coordinate seamlessly with the other emergency services. We can also publish real-time weather information, all of which helps to assist the emergency services and members of the public – potentially saving lives.”
Andrew Walwyn, Managing Director of ToowayDirect, adds: “As we can see from cases like OVMRO, a reliable and fast broadband connection is no longer a nicety – it’s a necessity. The Welsh Assembly has shrewdly recognised this and is now offering organisations and consumers the opportunity to install satellite broadband at a subsidised rate. We are confident that for people who live in remote locations that this satellite broadband connection will change their lives – the experience matches that of fixed broadband and indeed, in many cases, is significantly faster.”
OVMRO is a registered charity and depends upon voluntary donations to provide this free service. To find out more visit ogwen-rescue.org.uk.