Internet woe is over for Whitehills firms

The broadband cabinet at Apollo Court, Whitehills, which caused the trouble
The broadband cabinet at Apollo Court, Whitehills, which caused the trouble

Businesses left high and dry without superfast broadband at a hi-tech Blackpool business park have now been connected to the network.

A dispute over access to an area of unused land at the Whitehills Business Park left several companies who rely on their online trade with snails’ pace internet speed, which hit their business while others were being converted to superfast broadband.

We were previously in the situation where the standard broadband offer provided speeds of around 2Mbps, too slow for some businesses to operate with

BT Openreach was unable to upgrade the local cabinet at Apollo Court as it was on private land, even though it was right next to a public footpath, and the upgrade was delayed by more than 18 months.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies got involved to urge parties to resolve the situation, and now the long-suffering businesses have been told BT has completed the work.

Chris Hibbert, from commercial property company Henco, said: “This week we received confirmation from BT that the superfast cabinet to serve Whitehills Business Park is now live.

“We were previously in the situation where the standard broadband offer provided speeds of around 2Mbps, too slow for some businesses to operate with. Improving speeds involved costly leased lines, out of the realms of many of the smaller businesses. As the superfast cabinet for Whitehills is now ‘accepting orders’, occupiers on the park will have the benefit of broadband speeds at least ten times faster than currently available.

“It’s good news for Whitehills. As part of the M55 Hub, we have a great location on the Fylde coast for businesses to operate from, and at long last, the broadband infrastructure to suit.

“A number of operators have held off with expansion plans or been put off moving to the area due to broadband speeds, a hurdle which no longer exists.”

Adrian Meekin, from one of the companies on the estate, The Ink Squid, said: “I don’t think I will believe it until I see it, but it is looking good. It will make a huge difference to us since all of our systems are online.

“The last 12 months has been like wading through treacle and it is a shame that we had to get the Gazette and our local MP involved before anyone would take action.”