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Superfast broadband helps Norfolk’s only triathlon store Tri Harder to thrive

PUBLISHED: 11:37 20 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:37 20 February 2017

Ben Walker at Tri Harder in Dereham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Ben Walker at Tri Harder in Dereham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk county council

The founders of Norfolk’s first and only triathlon wear and equipment company are crediting superfast broadband as one of the reasons why their business is proving such a success.

Ben Walker at Tri Harder in Dereham. Picture: Norfolk County Council Ben Walker at Tri Harder in Dereham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Tri Harder was set up by triathlete friends Ben Walker and James Walgrove in 2011, and its premises on the Yaxham Industrial Estate in Dereham has benefited from Norfolk County Council’s and BT’s Better Broadband for Norfolk programme.

Last week it was announced that an £11m investment in high-speed fibre broadband will give 95pc of all premises in Norfolk access to superfast broadband by spring 2020.

Mr Walker said: “The internet is very important. It’s the shop window, whether it’s through social media or the website, both of which we manage ourselves.

“We’re online all the time, so if we didn’t have that reliable, fast speed it would be very frustrating, particularly with changing products on our website.

“Online sales probably account for about 15 percent of our turnover, from anywhere in the UK, with the odd international sale too.

“The website is important even when it’s not generating a direct sale, people are looking at what’s in store before deciding to make the journey over. We were Norfolk’s first triathlon store and we’re still Norfolk’s only triathlon store and people visit from as far as Ipswich, Peterborough and Wisbech.”

The Tri Harder shop can receive download speeds in excess of 37 Megabits per second (Mbps) – anything above 24Mbps is classified as superfast. Fast, reliable broadband has enabled them to be more efficient as well as given them greater flexibility in marketing and managing the company.

Earlier this year they decided to move the system that manages their stock and till onto cloud-based storage, which means it can be accessed remotely, including from events they attend.

Video is also becoming a much more important way of increasing awareness of the shop and its products, and their broadband connection allows them to upload videos and stream them from YouTube on a screen in the shop with no delays or buffering.

Future plans for Tri Harder include expanding its reach and offering more for female triathletes.

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