Enterprise park in internet slow lane frustration

Behind the times - Sleaford Enterprise Park lacking superfast broadband. EMN-191211-141546001
Behind the times - Sleaford Enterprise Park lacking superfast broadband. EMN-191211-141546001

Businesses on Sleaford’s biggest industrial estate are being held back by a failure by BT Openreach to deliver superfast broadband connections.

Andy Gordon, director of Eton Contracting Solutions, is based in Sleaford Enterprise Park and says that despite it being a vital employment area in the town, the majority of the site lacks fast fibre optic broadband links, putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

He is now threatening to move his 20 staff out rather than cope with the outdated internet speeds of less than 1MBPS.

Mr Gordon said: “I have been in contact with BT over the last month or so and, in a nutshell, SuperFast broadband was scheduled in 2017 for the site, but I have been informed has since been cancelled.

“After speaking with local engineers they have told me the fibre optics stop at the Agra roundabout even though there is ducting for it right down to the bottom of the estate. In their words the ‘contractors’ employed by Openreach aren’t interested in the project due to the lack of profit in the install.”

He claims it is such an easy job it is not worth their while.

The businessman, whose firm, ironically, carries out high-tech communications and electrical installations, said: “I joked to BT to just send us a cable and we would do it and they seriously asked if we were on their books. It is strange why BT don’t want the business.”

He sees high speed broadband as critical in modern business, especially as North Kesteven District Council has announced it will invest millions in developing land connected to the estate for future employment.

A spokesperson for Openreach said: “A huge amount of work has taken place across Lincolnshire, including the Sleaford area, where more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses can access superfast broadband. We know there is more to do and our work continues.

“There are a number of options available to places such as Sleaford Enterprise Park and other communities not included in current plans, most notably Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership programme, which enables people to jointly fund the installation of a high-speed fibre network with us.

“In the meantime, we’ll discuss this further with our partners at the county council.”