It may look picturesque and hidden away, but Fromehall Mill is a high-tech hub with many internet based businesses. Yet the heart of the e-learning in Stroud’s ‘Silicon Valley’ does not have access to Superfast Broadband.
Andrew Longhurst, Director of MMOUK, who invited Cllr Sarah Lunnon along to meet the business and understand their issues, said:
“As well as being based in Stroud Town, surrounded by residential properties with Superfast Broadband, what makes the situation maddening for the businesses is that just 200 meters away is a Superfast enabled exchange.”
“When I asked, BT Openreach they would not say when or if Superfast will be provided; but instead offered to install fixed bonded lines at an installation cost of £6000, plus £500 per month per business. That’s for similar speeds offered to surrounding domestic properties for an installation fee of under £100 and a monthly rental of around £35 per month.”
Cllr Sarah Lunnon said “it’s not really on. BT, a private monopoly, won’t say if or even when they will provide this vital national infrastructure. These kind of high-tech knowledge based enterprises are a vibrant part of the Five Valley’s economy and they are effectively being held hostage, it is not acceptable. Gloucestershire County Council and the new Government need to ask BT why they are paying their shareholders rather than providing decent services, especially since we are in effect funding them”.
- The exchange is 200m as the crow flies, or 400m if following the road; though the lines are supplied overhead at the moment.
- Business are:
- MMOUK (Multimedia Outsourcing UK Ltd) who provide specialist video and audio production for education, e-learning and training as well as corporate and broadcast production
- Learning Nexus, a leading independent e-learning publisher and solutions provider
- Safety4Business, one of the foremost providers of e-learning for H&S, delivering accreditation and certification for organisations across the world.
- Railton Consultants, who provide software and data solutions for the complex needs of large organisations including the nuclear generation industry.
- Herb Tandree Philosophy Books, an internet-selling book firm specializing in Western philosophy and related subjects.
- For all these businesses, superfast broadband would speed up interaction with clients, upload of content and allow new business areas to open up including live broadcast and streaming of video – something that is currently impossible.