An East Riding councillor is calling for BT Openreach to speed up its superfast broadband programme to avoid villages from slipping further into the IT wilderness.
Cllr Mike Stathers, one of the three Wolds Weighton Ward councillors, said there is growing evidence that the lack of a realistic broadband service to rural areas is causing severe hardship and in some cases ruining small businesses.
He said: “In Londesborough, those running a business from home are losing out because customers and suppliers in urban areas, where broadband speeds are good, are reluctant to trade unless there is a fast connection.
In this village alone, around 15 secondary school students could see their education put at a disadvantage as schools place a greater reliance on the internet for homework.”
He said a number of businesses such as a gym owner, a builder, a food retail outlet and farmers are being affected.
Cllr Stathers added: “While I can understand the need to connect the larger business communities as a priority, BT Openreach must start to pay more respect to our villages where there is next to no connection and I will be calling on them to step up their efforts before more damage is done to our rural economy, our farming community and our students.”
Jayne Fisher, chair of Londesborough Parish Council, said: “Test have recorded broadband speeds of as low as 0.86 Mbps. Organisations and businesses elsewhere expect broadband to be available everywhere, but it’s not.”
At Burnby residents are so incensed with their BT service they have written to the Minister for Culture and Digital Economy and to East Yorkshire MP, Sir Greg Knight.
One resident said: “Would you move to an area with no Superfast Broadband? It’s like asking a farm to rely solely on horse power and still remain competitive.”
The Broadband East Riding Programme, carried out by the East Riding Council and largely funded by BT and Broadband Delivery UK, is on track to make superfast broadband accessible to 95 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2017. Speeds of 24Mbps and above are now available to more than 42,000 premises.
Cllr Stathers addded: “East Riding Council is doing a terrific job in this respect but together we need to increase the pressure on BT to deliver superfast broadband to these outlying villages as soon as possible.”