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Calls have been made for the government to invest in faster broadband rather than HS2.
Despite the government’s plans to spend billions of pounds on HS2, many firms are suffering due to a lack of broadband infrastructure.
Deputy chairman of the Chesham and Amersham Conservative Association, George Jeffrey, said: “The towns are very well connected, but there is a digital apartheid with small companies suffering because of slow connections. The digital economy is the way forward and Buckinghamshire will be missing out if we don’t invest in it.”
Broadband manager at Buckinghamshire Business First (BFF), Chris Rawson, said: “We need to get the government to think again on what they spend their money on. We have had many businesses complain to us about slow broadband.”
The Bellhouse Hotel, Oxford Road, Beaconsfield, suffers from slow broadband and sales office manager, Yvette Buckingham, says: “Our connection is hopeless. When we have 20 or 30 people here on training courses, it is very slow and people get annoyed. My mother lives in a field in Lincolnshire and even she has better broadband than we do.
“A couple of weeks ago, we invested in a 10mb lease so we can have a better broadband service. People use the wifi in the evenings and people come to the cafe bar too, so it is important.”
Buckinghamshire Business First and Buckinghamshire County Council have recently secured better and faster broadband coverage for parts of the county by securing government funding.
The county council has also teamed up with Hertfordshire County council to form the Connected Counties team, with whom they are trying to increase the amount of superfast broadband coverage across the two counties.
The councils emphasised in their newsletter that better broadband would lead to an increase in jobs and opportunities for people, as research shows that there is a direct correlation between broadband speed and economic growth.
Two thousand people have signed up to BFF’s campaign to increase broadband speed in Buckinghamshire. To back the cause, you can sign up at www.superfastforbucks.org.
■ For more HS2 news, turn to page 15.