Members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Milton Keynes have made the suffering of local businesses public, due to ‘critical holes’ in the roll-out of superfast broadband.
In a letter to David Hill, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council, Craig Malcolm, Treasurer of the FSB North Bucks Branch, said that the issues needed to be ‘addressed quickly’ and ‘as a matter of urgency’.
In order to roll-out this service BT use the street cabinets, and within the city various small business units are congregated in individual estates, meaning that the amount of business premises served by nearby cabinets would be significantly less than residential areas.
Malcolm said that this allowed BT to ‘pick and choose’ the areas within Milton Keynes that can have the best access depending on where the cabinets are, and that BT had a ‘clear business case’ to delay upgrading cabinets near small businesses. BT has offered the affected businesses higher value connections, but Malcolm stated that they were of inferior quality and more expensive.
To further his letter to Hill, Malcolm, wrote,
‘It has become apparent that there are some critical holes in the superfast broadband rollout. It is difficult to foresee BT providing the superfast infrastructure that small businesses in MK require if the situation is left to normal market forces.
‘This will result in small business investment to MK being curtailed as the lack, or cost, of availability of the infrastructure required to operate will be prohibitive.
‘We therefore call on the council, as a matter of urgency, to provide pressure on BT, together with the required funding, to ensure that the small pockets of MK that are being deprived access to the superfast technologies they require are catered for.’
The Milton Keynes Council commented, ‘Milton Keynes Council has been working closely with BT and Openreach plus other stakeholders on the roll out of superfast broadband for the past two years in a united effort to improve the level of broadband provision in the borough.
‘The council specifically targeted small and medium sized businesses in this area by hosting the Next Gen Roadshow event in May.’
BT also added, ‘BT is committed to bringing faster broadband to the whole of the UK and Milton Keynes has been at the forefront of our plans for many years.
We have been delighted to bring some of the UK’s faster broadband speeds to Milton Keynes, but there is more to be done.’
Source: MK Web