Resort fails in bid for broadband link

“There is nothing further that we can do.”That was the stark message from BT to one of the biggest names in East Anglian tourism- despite a warning that outdated telephone exchanges will put the future of rural firms in jeopardy.

“There is nothing further that we can do.”

That was the stark message from BT to one of the biggest names in East Anglian tourism- despite a warning that outdated telephone exchanges will put the future of rural firms in jeopardy.

Brian Potter, chairman of Potters Leisure Resort at Hopton, warned in January this year that connections to the web through his local exchange were “painfully slow” and appealed for BT to upgrade the line.

He warned that major sporting events - such as the World Indoor Bowls Championship and last year's Premier League Snooker - might be moved from Potters if the organisers wanted to feature live matches on the internet.


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The warning prompted Environment Secretary Hilary Benn to visit Potters in March and pledge to take up the resorts' concerns with the chief executive of BT, Ian Livingston.

Now Mr Potter has received a letter from Mr Livingston's office apologising for problems, but saying there are “no plans for upgrading the lineplant serving your premises at present”.

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The letter continues: “I am sorry that this is not the response you were hoping for and regret that there is nothing further we can do to assist you at this time.”

Last night Marc Jones, head of marketing at Potters, said: “We're disappointed in the response we've received. We're not just voicing our own concerns, but the concerns of the wider rural economy.

“All we're asking for is a level playing field in getting a high quality, fast broadband service.”

Mr Benn was unavailable for comment. But a spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said: “We know how important broadband is for rural communities and businesses and we are working hard to ensure that access for rural areas is a central part of government plans for the future of broadband.”

Stuart Burgess, chairman of the countryside watchdog, the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC), said he “recognised how important broadband is for rural businesses such as Potters Leisure resort”.

Dr Burgess said he planned to publish a report this summer highlighting the problems facing householders and businesses in the countryside when it comes to the internet.

“As the government watchdog, the CRC is keen to ensure that rural communities are not excluded from the economic, social and cultural opportunities provided by adequate broadband connectivity and speed and we hope that the government's Digital Britain report will bring some clarity to the government's role in supporting investment in future broadband delivery to urban and rural areas alike,” he said.

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