Poor broadband 'holding back a Plymouth-based business' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A furniture business in Plymouth is being held back because of broadband issues the owner is battling against.

Peter Harding, managing director of family-run Fairway Furniture, told the Herald that growth for his firm - which has an annual turnover of £12 million - is being stifled because BT has not being able to connect his Billacombe Road headquarters to fibre optic broadband.

He simply doesn't understand why BT hasn't been able to do this, as his premises is just 75 yards away from the nearest phone exchange.

"I'm extremely frustrated. Our web presence is growing rapidly, but we can't maintain it as effectively and efficiently as we'd like," Mr Harding explained to the newspaper.

"We simply don't have broadband connection speeds fast enough to make the most of online opportunities. It is hurting our business."

According to the businessman, the telecommunications firm have so far been unable to connect his premises to the Plymstock exchange, located a stone's throw away, due to "technical limitations", despite being updated with fibre technology.

This means that the Fairway Furniture's headquarters is still just connected by outdated copper wires, which limits broadband speeds and consistency.

Mr Harding claims that BT has refused to consider alternatives, such as utilising a domestic-style fibre broadband connection, as it believes this would cause problems for other customers.

"The problem lies in the telephone line. We asked BT for fibre broadband on a newly installed BT-sourced line. However, once the line was installed, BT said they couldn't provide fibre broadband on it and cancelled the line and 24-month contract," he explained.

Although Mr Harding was prepared to discuss other options, BT has so far only offered an expensive solution that he would be expected to foot the bill, in part or completely. The firm also explained that it wouldn't be possible to convert their current broadband lines, leaving Fairway Furniture in a frustrating situation.

Research done by the Mr Harding reveals that 60 per cent of his customers look at the website before visiting the showroom, meaning he could be losing business due to slow upload speeds.

Satellite broadband is able to resolve issues like these, and with Avonline's Fibre Guarantee, customers can cancel without charge if fibre optic connectivity is installed in their area and they cannot switch to our own fibre service.