The Santander Work Café is a new concept for the Island, combining a state-of-the-art banking service with free bookable meeting rooms, free co-working space with free high-speed Wi-Fi, an event space and a café, open to everyone whether Santander International customers or not.

With reliable Wi-Fi a critical factor and a tight timescale for delivery, it was clear that great connectivity and speedy installation would be on the menu for this project.

The Challenge

An old Victorian building may not sound like the obvious place for a brand new Santander Work Café but the former Douglas Market Hall was the location of choice for Santander International. As well as being close to the centre of town, it allowed them to partner with NOA to provide their renowned food and drink. It was not without its problems though. As well as the difficulties of getting strong, reliable connectivity within an old stone-walled building, there was a limited window of opportunity to get the communications installed to meet a pressing opening schedule.

With the Work Café’s success resting on its ability to offer high-speed connectivity for up to 150 users, including both Santander International staff and guests, it was essential to open with everything working to plan.

The Solution

As long-time Manx Telecom customers, the Santander International project team first contacted their Manx Telecom account manager to talk through their requirements and identify critical dependencies given the short timetable available.

To meet the different requirements of users and to fully cover the various rooms and areas in the Work Café, it was decided two high speed fibre broadband networks would be installed. This would ensure, for example, that there was no risk of a presentation being interrupted if there were an exceptional number of users in the café.

Taking advantage of previous fibre ducting work carried out by Manx Telecom in the town centre, the two fibre cables were brought in from opposite ends of the building for extra resilience. All the work was done in close consultation with other contractors to ensure the Manx Telecom team could get everything finished in the limited window of opportunity available to them.

The Outcome

The Santander Work Café opened on schedule and has been a huge success from day one with great take up on the free Wi-Fi enabled co-working spaces and meeting rooms.

“We were determined to deliver a space we could be proud of and that’s exactly what we have done in Market Hall,” says James Geldart, Managing Director, Santander International Isle of Man.

“The Wi-Fi is brilliant – it enables our staff and customers to work very effectively.”

With the Santander Work Café designed to offer a less formal approach to banking as well as a space for people and small businesses to work free of charge, reliable high-speed connectivity is a key component of the offering, adds James.

“We understand that people using our co-working space and meeting rooms need reliability – if people can’t connect to Wi-Fi, their productivity can be hugely impacted. Our reputation is at risk if we can’t enable people to work to their full potential.”

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve received. People are commenting that they’ve never experienced anything like the Work Café before and are very appreciative that we have provided a space for the benefit of the broader community.”

As well as the technical input, James was impressed by Manx Telecom’s ability to work around the demanding logistics of the build.

“It was great to be able to work with a team who understood the constraints that we were working with, and who could help us get the project over the line.”

“From the outset we had a shared understanding that working together was crucial to achieve our goal of a successful and timely opening. The experience has been nothing short of brilliant.”

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