Superfast roll-out ‘snail’s paced’ fury

Shaun Murray at Aegis Design - annoyed that superfast broadband still hasn't reached Todmorden.

Shaun Murray at Aegis Design - annoyed that superfast broadband still hasn't reached Todmorden.

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Frustrated business owners have hit out at the damaging impact of the lack of superfast broadband in Todmorden.

The town is earmarked as an area which will benefit from fibre broadband as part of BT’s commercial rollout in some areas of Calderdale.

While some areas, including Todmorden, are part of BT’s commercial area, the Super Fast West Yorkshire project aims to expand on the rollout and has delivered its three cabinets in Todmorden as planned and on schedule.

But as the date for the town keeps getting pushed back, there are fears parts of the upper Calder Valley has been forgotten.

Shaun Murray, owner of Todmorden-based web development company Aegis Design, says the lack of fibre broadband can be a real problem.

He said: “If someone is trying to do something on the internet, you occasionally have to say ‘can you not do that’ as there’s a really huge email to send or a video to upload.

“For about the last three years we have looked at the BT website, most recently it was proposed to be September, but when I looked a couple of days ago it’s now October to March 2016.

“Superfast West Yorkshire covers the areas that BT do not prioritise, effectively subsidising rollout to less commercial areas.

“I just find it frustrating that the actual commercial areas such as Todmorden aren’t higher priority. If you live in Blackshaw Head you can probably get faster broadband than in Todmorden.

“It’s great these outlying areas are getting it, but surely commercial areas should be most important.

“It’s really important for businesses in Todmorden, if you are a media company, or a company that relies on the internet, then you are going to be put off basing your business in the town.”

Mark Alker, publisher of Singletrack Mountain Bike Magazine, has managed to switch to fibre, but says there are still issues.

“Although we are a magazine, the majority of our business is done online,” he said. “Superfast broadband is vital and businesses without it are handicapped.

“I regularly find that when we check the speed during the day, even though we have superfast fibre broadband, its dropped down to less than we were on with slow broadband.”

A spokesperson for BT said: “We are very sorry for the further delay to the BT commercial fibre broadband roll-out in Todmorden.

“Six fibre cabinets are now live and taking orders and we are now at the point where work will start on the final piece of the network for a further ten cabinets, all of which are now in situ.

“Traffic management surveys are already underway and as soon as they complete we will apply for the necessary permissions to start work. We are aiming to have a further ten planned cabinets in Todmorden live and taking orders before the end of December.”