gainsborough and the surrounding villages has some of the slowest broadband internet in the UK – according to OFCOM.
OFCOM recently released a colour-coded map of the UK, showing the areas of the country that receive the best and worst broadband service.
Lincolnshire was shown to have a ‘super-fast broadband availability’ of just 23 per cent - well below the total average in England of 61 per cent.
This has been largely put down to the rural nature of Gainsborough and neighbouring Lincolnshire settlements - and local residents have spoken out about the ‘unfair’ lack of availability of faster internet speeds.
“I have less than two megabytes,” said Claire Kendall who owns Whatever on Lord Street, but lives in the nearby village of Kexby. “I find it very slow.
“The trouble with the villages is that the service providers always say that we live so far from the exchange point so it will always be slow and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Claire continued: “There are people who cold call us offering us internet packages, but as soon as we tell them where we live, they say we can’t have it. They just don’t seem to be spending the money to upgrade the system for villages.”
“It’s like we’re being punished due to where we live.”
She added: “We’re getting clobbered with slow internet, and along with high fuel prices and everything else this just seems unfair.”
Fellow Kexby resident Mark Leather-Barrow from Glentworth Road, is also frustrated at what’s available to people in rural areas.
“Our net connection is quite slow - I know because the internet I use at work is a damn site faster,” he said. “Things take so long to download, that as a result, we don’t really stream things very much at home. Even on our PS3 which is only about 20 ft from the modem – it takes so long and it’s just not worth it.”
He added: “The service providers tell us that it’s because of the distance from the exchange, but I could probably hit it with a catapult from here, but they say it’s about how the cable is laid, not how the crow flies. We’ve just come to expect it now. I feel sorry for those who are dependent on the internet, but that’s part of the package of living outside of an urban environment and I think it’s a price worth paying.”
Responding to OFCOM’s research, director of external affairs at consumer focus, Adam Scorer said: “It is worrying that the gap between advertised and actual speeds has grown. This is something which will doubtless be causing frustration for customers up and down the country.”
He added: “If broadband suppliers are going to try to tempt customers in with eye-catching speeds they must make sure they are improving the network to make those speeds a reality.”
A spokesman from BT reacted by saying: “BT is passing a million new UK homes with super-fast broadband every three months and so average speeds will inevitably increase further as the weeks and months go by.”
“Dealing specifically with the East Midlands, so far we have announced plans to make super-fast broadband available to well over 700,000 homes and businesses in the region, of which around 66,000 will be in Lincolnshire.”
He added: “BT has committed £2.5 billion to roll-out super-fast broadband to two thirds of the UK by 2015, and we welcome the opportunity to work with public sector bodies and business organisations to reach the final third, which is mainly made up of rural, less populated areas where the engineering challenges and costs are considerably greater.”