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Saturday, 23 February, 2019 - 11:29 (UK)  

..:: Broadband 4 Lhanbryde

The Broadband 4 Lhanbryde site came about after I decided to take on the role of local ADSL Broadband campaigner for the Lhanbryde telephone exchange (further details of this campaign can be found here). Obviously a campaign encouraging people to register an interest in Broadband will need a website for promotion and gathering registrations. So the site Broadband4Lhanbryde was launched in March 2003!

The site was toned around being very open and inviting to visitors in the hope of gatherings registrations for Broadband in the local area. Therefore a bright yet clean site design was required (Graphics done by me!). Above all else the site needed to load quickly on a 56k Dial-up connection. It would have been a 'kick in the teeth' effect if the site was most suitable on a ADSL Broadband connection when the whole point of the site was that the most likely visitors didn't have access to ADSL Broadband.

There were many key features which were required on the site to help the campaign. Most importantly an easy to use on-line registration form where visitors could register their details there and then on the website without having to be sent off to another site. Only the minimum amount of information as required from the visitor to allow for a valid registration to be passed onto BT, this kept the registration form simple and trouble free.

[ - Homepage]The site also includes a discussion forum where people can have discussions about Broadband, the campaign, the technology e.t.c. The forum also allows for other local gossip to be posted, this would help bring a sense of community to the whole campaign.

The site was not just about getting registrations, visitors could keep track of the progress towards the targets of the campaign on a regular basis as the site was updated daily with the latest news which affected the campaign. Probably the best feature of the site was a graph which showed how many registrations had been achieved so far and how far the campaign was from it's target! This information was pulled automatically, without any user intervention from the BT tracker website on a daily [Automated registration tracker]basis and cached locally on the website. This reduced the load on the BT web servers as well as speeding up the site because information was taken from the local server instead of having to pull the information from elsewhere every time a page was being viewed. There was an additional feature implemented which would allow the administrator to override the update process throughout the day if a jump in registrations were detected. This means that the latest results could be cached at anytime without having to wait until the automated update the following day.

The caching of results was not just for the Lhanbryde telephone exchange. The site also included a list of exchanges in the local region (Moray) and kept up to date details on the progress of those other exchanges in the same way the information was gathered from the BT site of the Lhanbryde exchange and cached locally. Now you can see why the caching was useful! Pulling details of several exchange details from a 3rd party web server would have slowed down the campaign website dramatically and would have had an adverse affect on the BT site. The downside of the caching was that the details were not updated in real-time but for the purpose of the campaign, a daily update was all that was required.

[Easy to use referral form]In order to keep the site user friendly and attract more visitors there were also featured added which allowed someone to refer a friend to the campaign website quickly and easily, by simply entering in their email address and their friends email address into a form on the left hand side of most pages on the site. The result would be the referred friend would receive a friendly email informing them that a friend of their has visited the site and suggested that they might be interested in taking a look! (Thankfully this service was never abused by spammers)

As part of keeping the local residents information about what was going on, there was another option allowing users to signup for a Newsletter which was sent out on a regular basis to keep [Newsletter signup form]people interested in the campaign and keep them up to date with the campaign, incase they had not been checking the site as often as they would have liked. The signup process was easy and painless. A visitor interested in signing up for the newsletter would simply enter their email address into a small box at the left hand side of the and press submit. It's that easy! If a user decided they no longer wanted to receive the newsletter then there were instructions in the email newsletter sent out which directed them to another page on the site where they could un register for the newsletter, simply by confirming their email address.

Despite trying to keep the information on the site as clear as possible without being too techie, there were a few pages describing exactly what ASDL Broadband is and why it is important to register. Other useful pages included what sort of computer system was required for access Broadband services, also a page detailing the costs involved with getting an ASDL Broadband line installed in your home. These costs were clear cut with no tricky wording to confuse the visitor. If anyone was ever confused by the content on the site, they could easily leave some feedback by using the contact form form available on the site.

Overall the site was a great success. Many rewarding emails were received stating how good the site was and how helpful it has been to the understanding of broadband. The site later spawned off a 'sister' site Broadband4Longmorn. Taking the same basic site and using it for another local Broadband campaign for the Longmorn exchange.

So, your probably wondering, was the campaign a success? I'm pleased to say yes it was! Just before we turned the page into 2004 the campaign reached it's target registration level and the Lhanbryde telephone Exchange was upgraded to support ADSL Broadband on the 26th May 2004!...

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