Larne businesses 'frustrated and disadvantaged due to broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The chief executive officer of Ledcom believes that the companies located on one of the firm's business parks are frustrated because of sluggish broadband and are disadvantaged as they have been overlooked in the rollout of super-fast speeds.

Ken Nelson made his comments after it emerged that Willowbank Business Park, in Larne, Northern Ireland, would be missed out of the national rollout of boosted broadband, despite being located in a postcode included in the original proposals, the Larne Times reports.

The newspaper claims that department for enterprise, trade and investment minister Arlene Foster penned a letter to chief executive of the Mid and East Antrim council Anne Donaghy claiming that she could not force a provider to invest in infrastructure, technologies or to deploy services.

Ms Foster added that BT's planning and design process excludes certain areas within some postcodes, as installing super-fast broadband in these places may not represent value for money for the firm.

In response to this, Mr Nelson said that providing his business park with improved speeds would benefit Larne as a whole.

"If current and future tenant businesses in the park can access superfast broadband they are much more likely to remain and expand in Larne," he stated. 

"It will help attract inward investment to the area which will promote business growth, job creation and fuel demand for local housing and services. That is a long-term investment worth making and is value for money."

Mr Nelson believes that those businesses in Larne left without super-fast broadband will have their operations and growth hindered, with many of the highly innovative and export-focused companies residing on his park will be disadvantaged if they are excluded from the rollout.   

According to the Ledcom boss, issues with download and upload speeds means that video conferencing is nigh on impossible, limiting businesses access to international markets and affecting their performance in the global economy.

Sammy Wilson, MP for East Antrim, said that £15 million was handed over to BT to ensure that those living and working in rural areas would be included in the rollout, regardless of whether it would be commercially viable, which means exclusion shouldn't be happening.