Get behind fast broadband bid

Colin Harris of Amble
Colin Harris of Amble

Poor quality broadband is stopping investment in the area, it has been claimed, as the fight to make the county superfast gathers pace.

Last week, the Gazette launched a campaign to encourage as many people as possible from north Northumberland to back the bid and ensure we don’t miss out on better provision.

The county council-led iNorthumberland scheme needs as many people as possible to sign up so that the county can demonstrate the demand for superfast broadband from residents and businesses.

And speaking to the Gazette this week, Colin Harris, chairman of Amble Business Club, shared his views on the importance of having decent internet access in the area.

Colin, who is also owner of Colin Harris Website Development, described current broadband inadequacies as a ‘major obstacle’ for businesses to overcome.

He said: “If more people in this area could get better broadband speeds then they could run their businesses here. There would be no need to go elsewhere.

“But the lack of broadband is a major obstacle and it is stopping people from investing in the area.

“In one way or another, we have a conversation about this every day with our clients, whether it is about poor broadband, poor availabilty or 3G mobile phone coverage.

“It really is holding them back because it is stopping them from competing with businesses in the likes of Newcastle. It is not a level playing field.”

Speaking about his own business, he added: “How can I offer web-based services to businesses in the north Northumberland area, if they can’t access the web to use them?”

Colin also said it was important for the people who provide the infastructure to take ‘more responsibility’.

He urged as many people as possible to back the bid, saying it is ‘vital’ for people to sign up and register their support.

The iNorthumberland campaign recently received its 10,000th registration, which represents 12 per cent of all the premises in the county, but more are needed.