Thousands of West Midlands users lack usable broadband

New statistics from utility company National Broadband show that despite faster coverage, over 20,000 businesses and residents in the West Midlands are unable to access useable broadband speeds. These areas include the Black Country, Wyre Forest, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Wyre Forest.

The West Midlands has received £74 million worth of infrastructure funding as part of the UK Government’s Project Gigabit to fix issues of poor broadband and mobile signal, after complaints came from enterprises and residents in more rural communities of the region.

David Hennell, National Broadband director, commented:

“There’s a growing disparity between digital haves and have-nots and, as Project Gigabit fails to address more remote and more difficult to provision areas, this digital divide will only get worse. Far too many rural communities are still endlessly waiting on the distant promise of full fibre broadband.”

To compete in today’s increasingly digital world, companies all over the UK need access to fast and reliable broadband services. With more consumers than ever before shopping for services and products online, poor network access can severely damage any chance of business success.

National Broadband reviewed data supplied by local councils and UK telecom’s regulator Ofcom, in order to investigate the issue. It found that the east and southeast of England received the lion’s share of funding (over £250 million), and that parts of the West Midlands were identified as being among the worst places in the country for access.

Figures for Shropshire showed that 6,633 addresses were unable to get a useable speed of 10Mbits/s, with Powys close behind at a figure of 6,314. Birmingham came in with a surprising 3,875 addresses lacking access.