Published: 23/02/2014 14:00 - Updated: 21/02/2014 12:15

Slow internet speed hitting Moray community

SNAIL-paced broadband speeds are creating a communication breakdown in a rural Moray community.

Residents of Orton claim their internet has become so slow that it is almost unusable, and will upload their concerns to BT officials at a meeting next week.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead will head Monday evening’s meeting in Inchberry Hall, which will invite comment from some of the 71 people from the community affected by slow broadband.

One resident claimed that speeds are so bad that it takes a whole day to download a movie, and that one business in the community had even had to relocate because of the slow internet speed.

Monday’s meeting will also be attended by BT Scotland director, Brendan Dick, and Stewart Robertson from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It is designed to update Moray businesses and residents on the roll-out of next-generation broadband across the area, as well as other broadband technologies.

Superfast fibre optic broadband has already reached Buckie, with other Moray towns in line to benefit from lightning paced internet connections over the coming months.

In contrast, Orton resident Alex Marshall said his community’s tiny sub exchange, which caters for just 71 broadband customers in the area, has become unfit for purpose.

"It was so bad I’m told a business person had to sell up and move elsewhere because the internet was so slow," he claimed. "And someone I spoke to tried to download a movie for their grandchild and it was still downloading 24 hours later.

"I’m just so frustrated. Every time there’s a major outrage on the main line, we get problems with our line. It has become so bad it is almost at the point of being unusable."

Mr Marshall, a retired former communications officer, said an internet speed of 8 megs was expected by Moray’s broadband customers, but people in Orton were getting just 512kb.

He said when he tried to load the Northern Scot website’s home page on his computer, it took 20 minutes.

"They are spending money on places like Hopeman where people already had acceptable speeds. For people like us in rural areas, we are being cast adrift.

"It all comes down to cost and they don’t want to pay more for just 71 people. But we pay our broadband the same as everyone else."

Mr Lochhead said broadband issues are regularly raised with him by local residents and businesses in Moray.

"The public meeting on Monday will be an opportunity to hear about the ongoing investment in Moray and get an update on the rollout of superfast broadband technology in the area.

"It will also be an opportunity for people to raise issues about some of the harder to reach areas that are further from exchanges and which either have no broadband or slow broadband. I would encourage people who want to know more about broadband in Moray to come along.

"It is important that people across the region get good information on which areas will see broadband accessibility improve in the near future and what stage the overall superfast upgrading project is currently at. It is also important that information is communicated on the limitations of the project and what alternatives are being worked on, such as Community Broadband project in Tomintoul."

The meeting takes place at Inchberry Hall at 7pm on Monday.

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