THE county council has published a map of Lincolnshire’ broadband ‘not-spots’ to coincide with its consultation on plans to bring superfast internet speeds to the majority of the county.
The Standard has thrown its support behind the campaign, which aims to give residents and businesses in rural parts the opportunity to enjoy the same speeds as large towns and cities.
The campaign is already enjoying some local success - with around 720 people in the Standard’s catchment having already pledged support. A further 115 business in the Skegness area have also given their backing.
And Lincolnshire County Council has now released a map of so-called ‘not-spots’ across Skegness and the wider county in the hope that further businesses in the area will be spurred into action and register with the Onlincolnshire.org website.
The lighter colours on the map indicate that the speeds in those areas are on average below 2mbps, or non-existent, meaning that simple things that many take for granted like using BBC iPlayer simply do not function.
A total of 115 businesses in the Skegness area have already added their voice to the campaign, but hundreds more are needed to reach the county-wide target of 10,000 by December. The list of business sign-ups to the website will eventually be used to lobby service providers to put the infrastructure in place across the county.
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce which is spearheading the campaign on behalf of the council, along with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: “This map is a stark wake-up call for all businesses in Skegness and the surrounding area to realise just how much we are missing out on.
“It is concerning, but unfortunately not surprising, that so many of the spots are poor – showing that they have little or no connection. I would hope to see every business in Skegness sign up to the campaign and show that this is a place that demands a better broadband service.”
Countywide, 1,015 businesses have answered the call for poor connectivity to be improved.
Lee Roberts, Assistant Manager at the X-Site Skate Park, based at North Parade, said: “The broadband here is generally a bit sluggish and we do have a lot of times when it will just stop and reset itself.
“The other day we just wanted to check emails and it just wouldn’t let us get on, which is very frustrating. As well as being more reliable, it could do with just being faster. We’ll get behind the campaign for the greater good of the area – we’re not the only business here and everyone needs a good service.”
The Onlincolnshire initiative is part of Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincolnshire Broadband Plan, which aims to bring next-generation broadband (a minimum of 24Mbps) to 90% of county premises by 2015 and a guarantee of at least 2Mbps for the remaining 10%.
Public and private sector funding worth around £57 million will be invested in a better service, including £10m from the county council and £4m from the district councils and the EU.