BROADBAND speeds in Burton may only increase marginally despite major upgrades to the town’s telephone exchange, it has been revealed.
Officials from telecoms giant BT made the admission as they met with Burton’s MP and the town’s faster broadband campaigners.
Andrew Griffiths visited Burton’s telephone exchange in Fleet Street to see work under way to increase the number of higher speed lines available to broadband customers.
Mr Griffiths said: “Any increase in broadband speed we can get for the people in Burton is a good thing. But we must not stop in our fight to get ever faster broadband. During the meeting, we had an admission that businesses can have a say in the roll-out of superfast broadband.
“I therefore call on businesses to do as much as possible to get faster broadband.” Mr Griffiths said the slow broadband speeds in Burton were the issue about which he received most correspondence from constituents.
Ian Page, who led Burton’s unsuccessful attempt to bring superfast broadband to the town during the first phase of the roll-out programme, said he was cynical about the BT officials’ claims.
He said: “Even when more lines are added onto the exchange, there will still be an underlying problem.
“There may be more capacity at the exchange but there will not be faster speeds.”
Ross Drayton, BT’s regional manager, told people at the meeting that a theoretical broadband speed increase from eight to 20 megabits per second could only mean a jump of two megabits per second in reality.
After the exchange is upgraded this summer, there will be more space for customers to receive 20 megabits per second broadband, rather than eight.
Michael Hill, BT’s public affairs manager, who also attended the meeting, said: “When we installed the first 20 megabit lines in Burton, so many people wanted them that we will now have to install more.
“The date for this has been brought forward from our original plans because of the demand.”