"As an international charity based in Halesworth, we are very dependent on the Internet. In fact one of the reasons we have been able to locate here was the introduction of modern telecommunication facilities. But now these are lagging far behind and we are having problems." John Burton, World Land Trust
The World Land Trust has always been at the forefront of new technology. One of the first charities to adopt the use of Fax and Email to communicate with its projects around the world, use of communications technology has allowed the trust to base its office outside London, and make substantial savings on its administration costs. However the benefits of being based in the countriside location are being let down by a lack of affordable broadband. In a week when the government has made a great deal of fuss about the UK having 2 million broadband subscribers, rural Britain is increasingly being left behind. The government also has no plans to subsidise broadband services to ensure they are available in remote areas of the UK, E-commerce Minister Stephen Timms has insisted.
The internet has become a more and more important resource for the charity - both with regard to communication with projects around the world, but also with internet fundraising. The World Land Trust has seen a large increase in internet donations over the past year, and has now appointed a full time web manager.
It is extremely frustrating to keep seeing expensive advertisements for Broadband, but not to be able to access it. It is also giving competitors an advantage, as well as increasing running costs. Not only are running costs in terms of connection times and downloads increased, but staff – five of which use the Internet frequently, waste an enormous amount of time.
Currently the WLT is having to switch service providers, as more than 150 hours of internet are used each month. One option which has been suggested by Tiscali is the use of IDSN - a service which costs 4 times as much as broadband, yet provides a quarter of the connection speed.