Slow broadband causes frustration in Gloucestershire

Tuesday, May 24th 2011
Many residents and businesses are forced to cope with a slow broadband service.
Slow broadband causes frustration in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire householders and employers have hit out at the poor broadband speeds that are available throughout much of the area.

More than a third of properties in the West Country county are only able to receive slow internet services, according to research from backbench MPs, leaving 150,000 people at risk of becoming "isolated and undermined".

Some 34.5 per cent of the population in the Cotswolds have slow broadband, along with more than a quarter in Tewkesbury and almost a fifth in Cheltenham, reports the Gloucestershire Echo.

Chris Dowling, a garage owner from the St Paul's district of Cheltenham, said his company has been forced to come to terms with slow internet speeds.

He stated: "So many vital things are computerised and it slows down our day-to-day running and time is money.

"Just registering an MOT on [the] computer can take up to five minutes and that's horrendous."

Robert Barnett, who lives near the Cotswold village of Stow, claimed some rural communities in the area can only receive speeds of around 0.5Mbps - little better than the capability of a dial-up connection.

Despite this, residents are still forced to pay for an up to 8Mbps service, he noted.

"Suppliers work on the basis there are fewer people being disadvantaged in rural areas and are postponing an expensive investment in longer optical fibres, Mr Barnett added.

Their comments come after the Labour Party pointed out that the government has delayed plans to roll out universal broadband across the country from 2012 to 2015.

It means 18.1 per cent of consumers in rural and remote areas will be forced to continue with slow internet access for a further three years.

Shadow minister for industry and the digital economy Ian Lucas said the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition should give greater clarity on when it intends to meet its super-fast broadband targets. 

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