AREAS suffering from little or no broadband service are being highlighted as part of a campaign to improve connectivity.
A map showing huge areas of so-called ‘not-spots’ across Boston and the wider county has been drawn up by Lincolnshire County Council in the hope that businesses in the area will be spurred into action and register with the Onlincolnshire.org website. The lighter colours on the map indicate that the speeds in those areas are on average below 2mbps, or non-existent, meaning that simple things that many take for granted like using BBC iPlayer simply do not function.
A total of 58 businesses in the Boston area have already added their voice to the campaign, but hundreds more are needed to reach the county-wide target of 10,000 by December. The list of business sign-ups to the website will eventually be used to lobby service providers to put the infrastructure in place across the county.
Simon Beardsley, chief executive of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce which is spearheading the campaign on behalf of the council along with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: “This map is a stark wake-up call for all businesses in Boston and the surrounding area to realise just how much we are missing out on.
“It is concerning, but unfortunately not surprising, that so many of the spots are red – showing that they have little or no connection. I would hope to see every business in Boston sign up to the campaign and show that this is a place that demands a better broadband service.”
Countywide, 1,015 businesses have answered the call for poor connectivity to be improved.
Martin Baker, director at Countrywide Signs (Boston) Ltd, based at Wyberton West Road on the outskirts of Boston, said the poor service can be ‘frustrating’.
“We rely 100 per cent online for our business as all of our clients order everything over the internet,” said Martin. “Reliability-wise, the internet here is quite good, but the speed is rubbish. It is incredibly slow to send and receive emails, or just load up new pages. I would definitely support a campaign to improve the broadband around here as it does need upgrading.”
The Onlincolnshire initiative is part of Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincolnshire Broadband Plan, which aims to bring next-generation broadband (a minimum of 24Mbps) to 90 per cent of county premises by 2015 and a guarantee of at least 2Mbps for the remaining 10 per cent.
Public and private sector funding worth around £57 million will be invested in a better service, including £10m from the county council and £4 million from the district councils and European Union.