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Businesses in Deeside Enterprise Zone Complain of Slow BT Broadband

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 (8:51 am) - Score 863

Smaller businesses that have taken up residence at the Deeside Enterprise Zone in Flintshire (North West Wales, UK) have complained that they’re still only able to get superslow sub-2Mbps broadband download speeds from BT’s local infrastructure and some will leave if the situation isn’t corrected.

The issue is less of a problem for bigger firms in the area, which have the money to invest in an expensive Leased Line solution, but this sort of connectivity simply isn’t viable for smaller businesses that would otherwise struggle to pay the huge rental costs.

In any case the original idea behind the Government’s Enterprise Zone scheme was that they should be areas which benefit from better transport links, superfast broadband, tax breaks and simplified planning rules. Sadly the reality is not always quite so rosy, with smaller firms often being left to suffer significantly slower speeds than they can get at home.

Adam Butler, Owner of a Local Online Recruitment Business, said (BBC):

We came here a quickly growing business specifically to take more office space to employ more staff. We have 0.71Mbps download speed … We have to get other dongle wireless arrangements but it’s not ideal and it’s an obstacle to growth.

We’re on the Deeside industrial estate with some of the biggest global brands like Toyota, ConvaTec. The transport infrastructure’s here and broadband capability as part of the enterprise zone is promised as being world class and superfast.”

Meanwhile the Superfast Cymru project, which is working with BT to make “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) connectivity available to 96% of Wales by the end of 2016, is making “reasonable progress” (here) and its hoped than an extension deal may soon be announced that will further lift the existing targets. But in the meantime some of the zones smaller firms are considering a move to somewhere else.

On the flip side a spokesperson for the Welsh Government confirmed that work was on-going to improve connectivity in the zone, “Connah’s Quay, Hawarden Industrial Estate and Sealand exchanges [have already been] enabled and work to bring superfast broadband to the rest of the Enterprise Zone is continuing.” A new scheme is also being developed to boost business connectivity in related areas, although no details were given.

Last year the Welsh Government also announced an Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher scheme (here) that would provide assistance of up to £10,000 towards the capital costs of helping firms in Wales to install a broadband service with speeds of more than 100Mbps, which would only be applicable to businesses in Enterprise and Local Growth Zones.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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26 Responses
  1. FibreFred says:

    Its a defined business zone, get someone in to provide FTTP or wireless?

    1. Gadget says:

      you mean like http://www.fibrespeed.co.uk/. and given the Welsh Assembly grants for Ultrafast Broadband http://www.fibrespeed.co.uk/ultrafast-connectivity-voucher-scheme-launched/ I wonder with the problem is?

    2. FibreFred says:

      Seems like they have it on a plate, even a PoP right next door.

  2. JamesMason says:

    Most of the businesses there are only small business there are less than half a dozen large known brand companies. They could not afford to spend thousands thereselves and even if they could they should not have to as BT and the government promised Enterprise zones in Wales would be some of the first in wales to benefit as mentioned on a government own site http://business.wales.gov.uk/enterprisezones/enterprise-zone-locations/deeside/infrastructure-property/broadband.

  3. DTMark says:

    This is so Britain.. to set up an ‘enterprise zone’ somewhere with no telecommunications infrastructure.

    1. GNewton says:

      Indeed, we have local business parks in our district without fibre broadband.

      My advice to to these small businesses: Move to another area where proper telecom services are provided, don’t wait for the BDUK/BT cartel to do the job, if ever.

    1. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: Haven’t you read the article? It says:

      “The issue is less of a problem for bigger firms in the area, which have the money to invest in an expensive Leased Line solution, but this sort of connectivity simply isn’t viable for smaller businesses that would otherwise struggle to pay the huge rental costs.”

    2. FibreFred says:

      We’ve read the article, Fibrespeed sounds like a great fit, see here

      http://www.fibrespeed.co.uk/casestudy-item/research-laboratory-gets-bottom-connectivity-problems/

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      No publicly available costing for that and so difficult to use in a comparison. Fibrespeed based services have not always been as successful as was originally hoped.

    4. FibreFred says:

      But the facts are that they are complaining about slow BT broadband and may leave when they have fibre from another telco on their doorstep.

    5. JamesMason says:

      Deeside Enterprise Zone is no longer part of the “Government’s Enterprise Zone” scheme, the 24 which are listed here http://enterprisezones.communities.gov.uk/ez-map-2015/
      Fibrespeed never were part of it as a provider. So who is on the doorstep is irrelevant unless you are going to suggest part of the £700 Million which is amount for the “Government’s Enterprise Zone” is passed to Fibrespeed to complete the Deeside estate as BT are incapable.

    6. FibreFred says:

      Why would Fibrespeed need anything for Deeside they are already present in that area, people need to be getting quotes, all sounds rather lazy to me.

    7. FibreFred says:

      I think the main problem here and with other sme’s is that they want the connectivity but don’t want to pay the going rate whether that is from BT or another telco like fibrespeed

      And I get that it eats into profits of a small business so in that case if you can only afford basic rates akin to home users then choose carefully where you setup , just because you are a business it doesn’t mean telcos have to provide you with good speeds especially if you are not willing to pay the going rate

      So check the speeds before choosing a location or adjust your business model to cater for the true costs of a business connection

    8. Mark Jackson says:

      Hi James,

      By Government, since we’re talking about Wales here, we mean ‘Welsh Government’ and they have seven zones of which Deeside is one.

      http://business.wales.gov.uk/enterprisezones/

      As for FibreFred’s.. “choose carefully where you setup,” well yes but in reality a business can’t just setup anywhere it wants, especially with town centres now becoming high-rent residential-only and industry being pushed outside.

      You also have to be mindful of where your staff are based as a smaller workforce is less able to resist significant moves. Many other complicated factors like this also come into play.

      I wouldn’t pin all the blame on BT like those who are complaining have, but somebody somewhere clearly didn’t consider the needs of such an area properly (e.g. those who set it up in the first place). The reality for smaller firms is that right now they’re stuck with superslow ADSL.

  4. TheFacts says:

    ADSL checker says 4M. Interesting? area with 10 cabinets, some with or due FTTC from BDUK.

    1. fastman says:

      Developer / Managing agent could fund the rest of the cabs or the businesses could work together to get the cabs enabled — a number of other business parks have done that with Openreach

    2. JamesMason says:

      Erm the developer of the deeside enterprise zone was the Welsh government so you agree it should be them funding things.

  5. John says:

    Fibrespeeds ISPs offer wireless services, these appear to be very affordable – having 2 networks to choose from is a bonus on business parks, I fancy moving there – but I will do my research to see whats there first ;&

    1. FibreFred says:

      Which bit is a lie?

    2. JamesMason says:

      Good find 😀

  6. New_Londoner says:

    @Jacob
    I assume you read the page you provided the link for? In particular the bit which says “Direct fibre optic links to Manchester’s Telecity ensure the Zone *already* benefits from good superfast broadband connections”?

    What about this is a lie? It clearly refers to the existing Fibrespeed fibre broadband, which others here have already confirmed is available.

    If this is not suitable for any of the tenants for some reason then surely they should have done their homework before moving to the site? I’d never relocate without being certain that the facilities I need are available when I move in, why wouldn’t these companies do the same? Caveat emptor!

    1. JamesMason says:

      I assume you also read the link specifically…
      “Following a competitive process, the Welsh Government has made an agreement with BT to deliver Superfast Broadband across Wales.”

      Obviously if as you say that Estate gets their fibre from Fibrespeed that is a lie.

      followed by
      “As key economic priority areas for Wales, Enterprise Zones will be amongst the first to benefit from the roll-out of Superfast broadband.”

      Another lie as obviously not all these enterprise zones currently can get over 24Mb.

      Finally we have…
      “This investment will provide a platform to expand the roll-out of fibre-based services to premises across designated sites within Deeside Enterprise Zone to meet the future needs of businesses.”

      If fibrespeed already provided that whole estate with 24Mb then why does it need further investment to “expand” “across” sites within it?

  7. Abuse Alert says:

    Good to see rude comments from Carpetburn/Deduction etc. being deleted.

  8. Rob says:

    As an IT engineer who serves many clients on the Deeside Zone, I can say that the normal BT based broadband is bad. This is ADSL1 (G.DMT) and you get approx 4Mb. The main exchange, Sealand RCC in this case is upgraded for Fibre but only Zone 1 on the park is able to receive this. I did an FTTC install yesterday and was getting approx 40Mb which is a great improvement. Business on Zones 2 and 3 are still stuck on ADSL1 unless they speak to some of the providers who can provide Fibrespeed. A quote I had recently for a Fibrespeed connection, £1500 install then £425 per month for a 30Mb 1:1 connection.
    Compare that to £30 for FTTC you can quickly see why some small business cannot afford to do it.
    I have lots of clients waiting for BT to upgrade the cabs and I have seen BT on the other zones putting fibre in the ducts so it is on its way.

    Rob

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