Firms lose business 'due to fibre broadband struggle' header image

Companies at a Blackpool business park have been struggling to run their businesses over an 18-month struggle for fibre broadband.

What should have been a formality has turned into a nightmare for firms at Apollo Court on Whitehills business park in Blackpool, due to the protracted failure of BT and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to resolve a dispute over land access rights, the Blackpool Gazette reports.

Gordon Kent, the director of Exertrain, one of the firms impacted, said that his company has lost thousands of pounds and has been forced into a decision to relocate out of the area to save the business. 

He said: “You cannot run a business in this day and age without online sales - it is outrageous.”

Michelle Turnbull, whose company Barking Bakery has been struggling to even send emails over the poor existing internet connection at the business park, described the wait for the land dispute to be over as an “absolute nightmare.”

BT requires permission from RBS to upgrade the exchange on land owned by the bank. Access “should be a formality… but by drawing this out for over 18 months they have caused massive problems to many businesses,” said Adrian Meakin, who runs printer inks business The Ink Squid at the park.

A spokesman from BT, speaking on behalf of Openreach, expressed sympathy with the firms’ unhappiness over the continued delays, and explained that the difficulties in agreeing way-leave rights over the land had had knock-on effects on the programme as a whole.

The representative explained that BT is aiming to finish the work for the fibre broadband rollout in June, adding, “Regrettably, that is the earliest date we can agree at the moment given the delays.”