Internet campaign picks up the pace
A CAMPAIGN to improve the broadband coverage for a large part of Bradley Stoke has attracted support from local businesses and the area's MP.
An estimated 2,000 premises missed being linked to the fibre-optic cable network when the town was being built.
It meant they had to put up with slow internet connections because the two nearest telephone exchanges at Filton and Almondsbury were too far away for new cabling.
Jack Lopresti, the Filton and Bradley Stoke MP, and town councillors have already met Communications Minister Ed Vaizey to explain why it was a problem for householders and businesses.
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Businesses such as Virgin Media now provide the network and Mr Vaizey pledged to take up the matter with that firm and BT.
But campaigners are also urging residents to vote for an improved service through a BT competition.
Its Race to Infinity runs until the end of next month and gives people the chance to vote for their local exchanges to be fast-tracked for upgrading, with the five exchanges getting the most votes declared the winners.
Stephen Horton, from Bradley Stoke, has got the backing of the Willow Brook Centre, CJ Hole and the Bradley Stoke Harvester restaurant to promote the contest around the town.
Next weekend they will distribute leaflets to the homes that have the slowest internet service.
Mr Horton said the help of the businesses should improve Bradley Stoke's prospects in the contest. He said: "In order to stand a chance of winning, we need support from all the areas served by the Filton and Almondsbury exchanges, including Olveston, Patchway, Little Stoke and Stoke Gifford.
"Our campaign is not focusing solely on the BT competition. We also want to demonstrate to Virgin Media that there is sufficient demand for it to consider completing its network in the town."
Anyone who wants to vote can do so by visiting the www.bt.com/racetoinfinity website and entering their postcode.