The Almondsbury telephone exchange, which serves much of Bradley Stoke, has made it onto the leaderboard of a national competition designed to measure the demand for faster broadband connections.
After attracting more than 1,000 votes from local residents and businesses, Almondsbury has joined a select group of (currently) 18 exchanges, out of 2,495 eligible, at the head of BT’s Race to Infinity competition.
The exchange currently lies in 14th position, although it might be overtaken by one or two late finishers before the competition ends on 31st December.
A top five position, which would have guaranteed the installation of BT’s superfast Infinity fibre optic broadband by 2012, is now beyond reach but it is hoped that achieving the qualifying mark will greatly increase the prospects of the exchange being upgraded in the near future.
Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, who has has vowed to make the fight to secure faster, more reliable, broadband coverage across his constituency one of his top priorities, welcomed the news, saying:
“I am delighted that so many people have expressed their desire for better broadband services by supporting the campaign and voting online.”
“In the New Year I will be discussing the result of the campaign with both BT and Virgin Media.”
“To my mind we have demonstrated that there is real demand for an early upgrade and I look forward to having validation of this and positive discussions with both companies.”
Bradley Stoke Mayor Ben Walker added:
“I would like to personally thank everybody who participated in this campaign with a special thank you to the residents, councillors, local businesses, political groups and, of course, The Journal.”
“With out the Editor’s mobilising of manpower, organising, commitment and drive, this campaign would not have been such a success.”
“With this success as a backdrop we now have documented public support for our MP, Jack, to fortify his pressure on the responsible minister. Well done to all.”
The Journal Comments
Although it would have been nice to get one of the two exchanges serving Bradley Stoke into the top five, we can be proud of getting Almondsbury onto the leaderboard in a competition that clearly favours exchanges serving smaller communities having no broadband cable coverage at all.
Once the competition has finished, we intend to start some serious lobbying of BT to ensure that they take note of this clear demonstration of demand from broadband users in the Bradley Stoke area.
A big thank you to everyone in the local community who has contributed to the campaign – we couldn’t have done it without you.
Special thanks go to our sponsors the Willow Brook Centre, CJ Hole, Bradley Stoke, Harvester, Cllr Brian Hopkinson and Fortyfour Creative, who provided the funds and manpower required to produce publicity material for the campaign.
More info: Better Broadband Campaign (The Journal)
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