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Slow broadband speed dents expansion plans
10:20pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in News
CRAWLING broadband speeds are hurting a publishing firm’s expansion plans.
Managing director Tony Stephenson currently forks out just under £1,000 a year for three 2mbps broadband connections because one simply is not enough to service his successful publishing firm, Traplet Publications, which is based in Pendragon Close, Townsend Way, Malvern.
Mr Stephenson contacted the Malvern Gazette, which is a sister paper of the Worcester News , as it continues to campaign for superfast broadband for all.
As reported, BT is still negotiating with the Malvern Hills Conservators about installing key equipment on their land – with the Conservators saying last week that they would not stand in the way of progress.
However, an agreement remains elusive and a deal is not expected this week as was hoped.
Malvern MP Harriett Baldwin is meeting the Conservators today (Friday) and is backing the campaign saying that people in Malvern have waited too long for a decent service.
Generally, while more than 15,600 properties are benefiting from downloads of up to 80mbps following the arrival of BT’s fibre-optic service, thousands of people in West Malvern and Malvern Wells are still stuck with just a fraction of those speeds despite promises of connections by January 2012.
Mr Stephenson employs 60 people and wants to expand his operations, but says it will be difficult without the BT upgrade.
His company sends and receives very large data files, including digitised versions of the craft modelling magazines he publishes.
But individual pages of these magazines take up to seven hours to send and his staff are often reduced to sending work from their own homes.
“We’ve got offices in the United States, Australia and South Africa,” he said.
“I can get a better connection out in the sticks in South Africa than here.”
BT, which has a monopoly on high-speed broadband in Malvern, suggested that Mr Stephenson pay to have its dedicated broadband line for his sole use installed, which costs up to £20,000 a year.
Mrs Baldwin said: “I will be talking to BT to identify what steps we can take to fix this issue.
“It is not right that Malvern homes and businesses have already faced delays getting superfast broadband originally promised in January.” Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who lives in Malvern, took to Twitter to bemoan the situation saying: “When will our broadband be upgraded? We need wider access, but ours is too slow for effective use.”