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Monday, 22 September 2014

Ulverston broadband rollout ‘super slow’ – MP

BUSINESS chiefs have welcomed confirmation that Ulverston will get superfast broadband – but want to know when it will happen.

There remains confusion over when the town will see its internet upgraded after BT yesterday admitted a letter to Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock on the subject was sent in error. On Monday, the company revealed in an email sent to Mr Woodcock Ulverston would be getting superfast broadband as part of the telecommunications giant’s £2.5bn commercial rollout, but BT has now said that is not the case.

Instead, Ulverston will have to wait until a second broadband scheme is introduced as part of BT’s joint initiative with Cumbria County Council, which is aimed at the third of the county not affected by the first, commercial, rollout.

Business leaders in Ulverston have joined Mr Woodcock in welcoming the fact the town will get superfast broadband but insisted the town cannot afford to wait, with Ulverston not due for the upgrade until 2014 at the earliest.

Peter Cotterill, managing director at Oxley, said: “This is very good news for Oxley and all local businesses. However, waiting until next year is a disappointment but I’m sure John Woodcock will make sure BT delivers early if at all possible.”

Greig Rooney, site director at GlaxoSmithKline in Ulverston, said high speed internet access is becoming more important by the day.

He added: “Businesses large and small increasingly operate 24/7 across the globe and fast, reliable communications are key to sustaining this.

“Keeping up with advances in communications will be vital in attracting and holding in the region the talent which businesses will need to thrive and to develop, with ventures such as the £350m biopharmaceuticals plant GSK is building at Ulverston on the horizon.”

Mr Woodcock wrote to BT last month saying companies “are being brought to their knees” by “sluggish” broadband connections and was told Ulverston is in line to get faster internet.

However, BT has previously said there is insufficient demand in Ulverston to warrant including it in its commercial rollout, alongside Barrow and Dalton, meaning it will have to wait.

Mr Woodcock said: “The roll-out of superfast broadband still seems to be super slow – I shall be keeping up pressure on BT and Cumbria Council on this.”

BT confirmed to the Evening Mail that Ulverston was in line for a broadband upgrade but a specific date for when it will be introduced would not be announced until the spring.

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