A trio of small firms are trying hard to build up their businesses despite the “dismal” lack of broadband they have been saddled with.
The companies are all located in Grangemouth, just off Inchyra Road, opposite the brand new headquarters of petrochemical giant Ineos.
Beattie Contracts Ltd, Moore Equipment Hire Ltd and Peoples Safety Ltd are all relative newcomers to the area and have all had to endure the same problems due to a standard broadband rate of 3Mbps, or megabits per second, supplied by BT.
The firms revealed the best option they were told about was to have radio-based broadband beamed across the Forth all the way from Clackmannanshire.
Jim Beattie, of Beattie Contracts, said: “BT says we are in a ‘difficult area’. The speeds here are 3Mbps, which is atrocious considering the average, non-superfast broadband speeds in the UK are 12Mbps.
“This is not a call for superfast broadband – it’s a request for the minimum level necessary for a business to function. Companies need to be online now – HMRC is looking to do digital tax returns and we don’t have a reliable enough connection to let us do this. We struggle to even load a web page at times.”
Sam Moore said his firm Moore Equipment Hire was now up and running, put paying over and above the normal price just to get their communications system online and working.
He said: “This is the industrial heartland of Scotland and you get better quality broadband in your house than you do in a commercial business.”
John Peoples, of Peoples Safety, said: “We cannot load large files to email while we are on the phone or if all office staff are online at the same time and the speed drops for long periods of time, making it impossible to do simple tasks.”
A BT spokesperson said: “The businesses mentioned won’t currently have access to fibre broadband if their street cabinets haven’t been included in Openreach’s commercial plans or the deployment plan for the Digital Scotland rollout.
“Our roll-out decisions are based on the number of premises we can serve, the distance they are from our exchange buildings and cabinets, legal requirements, local planning rules and the cost and engineering involved.
“Our high-speed Ethernet services are available to all businesses in the Falkirk area which wish to use them, at a range of speeds up to 10Gbps. These dedicated services are ideal for larger businesses.”