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BT Openreach boss surprised over lack of broadband in Shropshire countryside

North Shropshire | News | Published:

The head of BT Openreach has admitted his surprise at the lack of broadband in the countryside.

Clive Selley talked to businesses affected by poor internet connection in a tour of the countryside of north Shropshire.

He pledged to try to find solutions to help the plight of rural industry and to return to the county.

The chief executive office was invited to the county by MP Owen Paterson who says broadband problems are preventing many parts of Shropshire being able to compete in business with the rest of Britain.

Mr Paterson said that as farms are increasingly diversifying and more and more businesses are run from home it is stifling growth.

During the day Mr Selley was introduced to traders and councillors in Whitchurch and was able to assure them that the superfast broadband would be in place in the town by December.

He also met John McGuinness, from Adderley Road, near Market Drayton, who runs a health and safety practice from his home, providing services to a wide range of industries and establishments.

He says he struggles to communicate with his clients because to telecommunication problems.

Mr Paterson said: "Mr McGuinness runs a national business and should not be let down by broadband and phone signal. He is not living in an isolated part of the countryside, he is only a mile or so outside Market Drayton."

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There were also talks with Emma and James Blanton who have turned barns at the farm in north Shropshire into holiday and short break accommodation.

"They have had 3,500 visitors and many of them report problems with the internet, only to be told that is how slow the internet it," he said.

"More and more farmers like Emma and James are diversifying and running excellent businesses, they need a fast broadband."

Mr Selley ended his day in Shropshire talking to Jeremy Rose from Ocean Telecom, which provides telecommunication solutions for businesses.

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"He was able to explain how the vast majority of concerns from his customers in Shropshire were over lack of a mobile signal," Mr Paterson said.

"It was interesting to see how shocked the head of Openreach was to hear of so many problems.

"It was a very constructive day and I am hopeful that there will be both short term answers to individual problems and long term improvements now in the pipeline."

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