broadband End User internet mobile connectivity

Being Back in the Land of Broadband Connectivity Feels So Good – Center Parcs WiFi

We have just been away for a holiday for a week. 2 days visiting the in laws and a 5 day break at Center Parcs in Cumbria. We had a good time. We go  every year with the kids to Center Parcs and do the same things every year. I won’t trouble you with the details.

This year we took with us some electrical equipment: 5 laptops, 1 iPad, 2 HTC droids, 1 Samsung Galaxy S2, a Nokia N97 and another Nokia so old that I can’t even remember the model number – it belongs to my wife.

The laptops did see some use but not nearly as much as they might because of the paucity of broadband connectivity. The iPad struggled with (failed actually) getting on the free wifi at the pool or Cafe Rouge (my Galaxy S2 worked from both locations). The mobile reception in most places showed typically no bars and occasionally crept up to one or two bars.  Two bars did not necessarily mean available data connectivity.

Fortunately Twitter is sufficiently lightweight to not mind the poor connectivity too much. My wife couldn’t understand why the internet didn’t work on the iPad. It did work but in her mind waiting two minutes for a page to load = not working.

So where am I going with all this? Should I mind that I can’t get connectivity on holiday.  After all it’s a holiday and connectivity often = work, at least working “in the internet business” as I do. Last summer I had a camping break that was completely offline. It was planned that way and we had a great time.

I must say though that the experience of having a holiday that was only partially offline was a frustrating one for all. It would probably have been better to have no connectivity at all than poor connectivity. The experience would have been better for all.

Center Parcs is also missing a trick. Having forked out £800 or so for 4 nights I can’t imagine there would have been many guests not willing to stick another £20 say on their bill to get decent wifi in their villa – especially considering the demographic of their customers – not many “holiday parks” stock Veuve Cliquot in the camp shop I’ll bet.

Just for their benefit I’ll do the sums. £5 a day per villa, say 200 villas taking up the offer on average adds up to a £365,000 revenue stream a year. For that kind of money they could afford to wire up the site, provide a 1Gig connection and have a hugely profitable contributor to the bottom line.

If Center Parcs want to get in touch I’ll tell them how to go about it.

That’s all. I’m still on holiday but back in the land of Wifi and HSPDA – yay.

PS no comments about the amount of electrical kit taken on holiday – this is the 21st Century, the internet age – get with it man

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

4 replies on “Being Back in the Land of Broadband Connectivity Feels So Good – Center Parcs WiFi”

Last time I was at Whinfell Forest a few years back I took a bit of a nosey in the understair cupboard in the lodge and found a DSL wifi router (can’t remember the make). It seems they have their own private DSL network running over the phone system.. not exactly difficult (probably a retrofit stack of 48 port mini-dslams/splitters). I suspect the whole lot is running of a couple of DSL lines towards t’interweb though 😉

I can recommend BlueStone in South Wales.. Ethernet ports in all the lodges and from what I could tell from RIPE whois lookup on the IP I was getting they’ve got nice fast VM fibre into the site.

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