Poor broadband 'holding Saffron Walden businesses back' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The lack of fast and reliable broadband is damaging businesses in the Essex town of Saffron Walden. 

Several professionals in the area have contacted Cambridge News to discuss the issue, with one claiming it is "holding back" local firms. 

Jon Power, office manager for Saffron Tickets, stated: "Being near Cambridge, you would think the town would suit technology-based companies, but without sufficient broadband infrastructure we will never attract them. It all hinges on broadband."

"I would like to put some pressure on Virgin and BT to change this as I believe it is holding the industrial estate and therefore the entire town back," he added. 

Adrian Brown, owner and manager of the Business and Technology Centre on the Shire Hill Industrial Estate, said companies are attracted to the site due to its proximity to Cambridge. However, he claimed they are then deterred when they learn about the lack of reliable broadband.

Mr Brown added he has been campaigning for action from BT and Virgin Media for some time, but has now "given up on them".

A spokesperson for the latter said their fibre broadband service is not suitable for all businesses and revealed it will be looking into an alternative solution. BT, meanwhile, claimed it is "difficult to make a commercial case" for the deployment of fibre services in areas where the associated costs are very high.

Saffron Walden is due to be included in the Superfast Essex project, which aims to bring high-speed connectivity to 87 per cent of the county, possibly extending this to 95 per cent at some point in the future.

However, as with many of these government-funded local authority schemes, there is a lack of detail about exactly when and where improved broadband will be available.

This leaves many people left in limbo, unsure whether to pursue alternative options or to wait to see if they are included in the rollout. You can learn more about this problem by reading our guide.