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Wincanton 'being left behind' in rush for broadband

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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Businesses cannot bring more jobs to Wincanton if broadband speeds are not increased, town traders have warned.

Concerns have been raised that Wincanton is being left behind as quicker services have been installed in Bruton and Templecombe.

Residents there are benefiting from upgrades as part of the roll-out of BT’s next generation broadband service making available download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second.

But Wincanton residents are still on speeds of around six megabits per second.

John Smith, chair of Wincanton Businesses Together, and Wincanton mayor Colin Winder, said faster speeds are needed to keep business going in the town.

Mr Smith said: “Wincanton is the main town of South East Somerset. Bruton and Templecombe are just villages in comparison but they are getting these faster speeds and we’re not – it’s embarrassing and it’s becoming a farce.

“There doesn’t seem to be any thought or plan for the needs of the community.

“We need to be able to help existing businesses to grow and take on more staff, and we also need to bring in new ones with decent jobs, not just low-paid jobs.

“But if they use IT and they’ve got a chance to go to Templecombe where there’s faster broadband, that’s what they’re going to do.”

BT and Open Reach are working to bring superfast, fibre optic broadband to all by 2020.

Ilminster, Sherborne and Yeovil have also already benefited from faster lines. Yeovil is set to get the upgrade by the end of this year, with Sherborne scheduled for 2013.

A BT spokesman said: “Wincanton is not currently in the roll-out plans but this is not to say it won’t be at a later date. We totally understand the frustrations of those that don’t currently have faster broadband speeds – we are doing our best and we’re spending £2.5bn on the service.”

Wincanton Businesses Together is working on a marketing plan to encourage new businesses to come to the town. It is also supporting the Western Gazette’s A303 campaign to make the road a dual carriageway.

Mr Smith added: “We want to be able to say ‘come to Wincanton, it’s good for business, we have fast broadband and the A303.”

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