Village may lose broadband connection
BUSINESSES and residents in Prickwillow are at the centre of a major make-or break-decision on new technology which could put the village back three years. They are waiting to see whether their high-speed internet link is going to be switched off or upgra
BUSINESSES and residents in Prickwillow are at the centre of a major make-or break-decision on new technology which could put the village back three years.
They are waiting to see whether their high-speed internet link is going to be switched off or upgraded.
Two weeks ago villagers lost their broadband connection when outdated equipment in their exchange developed a fault.
Those who rely on the internet for business have been forced to go back to a dial-up connection three years after broadband was installed.
But now the 80 villagers who use the service have been told unless they can pay up to £7,000 for new equipment, the connection will be turned off permanently.
And the move could have a knock-on effect on property prices and saleability of homes as buyers expect high speed internet connection.
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Prickwillow Parish Council chairman, Tony Pearson said: "People are really up in arms about this. As a rural community we are more reliant on our internet connection."
East Cambridgeshire District Councillor, Jackie Petts, has had a dial-up connection installed to keep her public relations business running.
She said: "I've really been half on holiday over the last two weeks. It's been dreadful. I had 500 emails I couldn't open and my clients haven't had many media opportunities."
At the Padnal and Waterden Internal Drainage Board in the village, staff have also been relying on a dial up connection.
Jean Heading, financial officer, said: "It's amazing how it is such an inconvenience. We are plodding on but everything seems to take twice as long."
Ely estate agent, Hart, reported that broadband is expected by the majority of its buyers and the lack of a connection wouldn't help property sales.
Prickwillow's broadband connection was installed by communications company, Trilogy Telecom, with the help of a £20,000 Government grant.
But Trilogy went bust two years ago and has been taken over by Lincoln-based GCI Communications.
The company managed to reconnect the service on Tuesday and its chairman, Wayne Martin, plans to meet an East Cambridgeshire District Council representative in Prickwillow today (Thursday) to discuss the way forward.
Mr Martin said that if villagers are prepared to fund the service they could get a far superior connection comparable with central London.
"The easiest option would be for us to switch it off," he said, "but we don't want to do that unless we have explored all the options.