EVERYONE would like to see more of their loved ones – and for Tamma Carel it’s a tough task, as both her grans live more than 13,000km away.
Yet Tamma now sees them every day - without even leaving her Newcastle home. That’s because she’s now taking advantage of superfast broadband to chat to her relatives by free Skype video call.
Newcastle City Council’s Go Digital Newcastle campaign is working hard to extend the availability of superfast broadband to 97% of the city.
Newcastle residents are now being encouraged to upgrade to the quicker broadband – and Tamma has been explaining how superfast speed has helped her to keep in touch with her loved ones in South Africa.
Tamma, 27, lives in Newcastle and is an Environmental Consultant working in Gateshead – she came to the North East to study at Newcastle University, and liked it so much she stayed.
Having left South Africa aged just 15, Tamma has first-hand experience of how difficult it can be to leave family and friends behind.
She said: “Obviously, leaving at such a young age was hard and I really miss everyone back in South Africa.
“Keeping in touch was a lot harder than I thought. At first, I could only phone my grans. Then Skype video calling came along, but slow broadband speeds meant the screen kept freezing while we were chatting.
“Our old Wi-Fi connection was just not strong enough and couldn’t cope with the video calls, especially if anyone else was using the internet in the house.”
But then Tamma and her partner Jack Grummitt, 26, signed up for a superfast fibre service, and freezing is no longer a problem. Tamma can now chat to her grandmas Marcelle Katz and Carlin Massey-Hicks in Johannesburg and Durban any time.
She said: “The difference in speed and quality was noticeable straight away. Whenever I want to I can Skype my grandparents, who I really miss. It’s so nice to see their faces without worrying about the broadband cutting out on me.
“It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with everyone who I really miss. I honestly don’t know how I managed before I upgraded.”
Newcastle residents who upgrade to superfast broadband get lots of benefits. You can instantly download movies in seconds, shop quickly and take advantage of bargain prices, play games and learn online.
And everyone in the household can do all this at the same time without the service slowing down, so you can kiss goodbye to buffering and freezing forever.
But the upgrade won’t happen automatically - you need to contact either your existing broadband supplier, or a new one and ask them to upgrade you to a superfast product.
Cllr Michael Johnson, Newcastle City Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Skills, Business and Enterprise, said: “Lots of people make video calls to the relatives these days, and superfast broadband gives an incredible connection quality – it’s almost as though they’re in the same room.
“The availability of superfast broadband is now spreading out right across the city. However, to take advantage of it, residents need to contact either a broadband supplier, and ask them to upgrade you to a superfast product.
“You can find out more about superfast broadband and check your available speed by visiting the residents’ page on the Go Digital Newcastle website - http://godigitalnewcastle.co.uk/residential-superfast.”
Go Digital Newcastle is also offering benefits for businesses, charities and social enterprises in the area too, with free connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 to get their business connected to superfast broadband, and free business support also available..