The MP for Copeland is backing a group of Eskdale business owners who have hit out after being left out of a scheme to receive super-fast broadband despite lines being installed ‘within yards’ of their properties.
Trudy Harrison MP is urging Open Reach to rethink their plans after residents from 15 properties in Eskdale including 10 businesses learned they would be excluded in the latest broadband rollout despite 66 properties recently being connected in Boot.
West Lakes Adventure owner, Steve Ashall is now leading the campaign to have Open Reach connect each property in the area as part of their recent broadband rollout.
Harry Berger, owner of the Woollpack Inn who has also missed out on the new fibre broadband connection estimates his business could lose as much as £100,000 per year as guests choose to stay in neighbouring properties benefiting from ultra-fast broadband.
Mrs Harrison, said: “Rural communities and businesses depend on decent digital connectivity, arguably even more than people living in towns and cities.
“We desperately need people to live in these remote communities so it is absolutely essential to provide broadband, which had become a basic necessity and one which most of us couldn’t imagine living without.”
Local resident, Laura Harrison said: “As you know we have service problems in rural areas spanning a full cross section, not just broadband. It is very difficult to get anyone to travel to us, never mind actually commit to provide any service. Getting a broadband service that works for us as a business and as a family would change our lives significantly.
“It would open up new opportunities for our farm business giving us greater accessibility to wide market and allow us to undertake business transactions with ease, making us more efficient.
“Everything is going online and if we can’t move with it we get left behind both financially and socially.”
Boot resident, Jackie Purnell, said: “I sympathise with anyone trying to run a business, it must be very hard with our current speed of internet connectivity, but it is also just daily living that is affected by our poor speed and consistency.
“It is poor that Out Reach have relayed ultra-fast cable to within yards of our property, then stopped, I feel this is very unfair on the few remaining residents, who are mainly trying to run businesses.”