Broadband grants frustration

Inger and Finn Morris find Higham's poor broadband tests the patience of Aran Services' staff ANL-150423-084336009
Inger and Finn Morris find Higham's poor broadband tests the patience of Aran Services' staff ANL-150423-084336009
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A company that has earned praise from the Stock Exchange for inspiring others has hit out at being ‘dumped’ over its poor broadband.

Energy efficiency company Aran Services was last month included in the Stock Exchange’s list of the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’, for which Matthew Hancock, then West Suffolk MP and minister for business and energy, congratulated them.

But Aran company secretary Inger Morris this week spoke of their frustration in trying to get decent broadband at their Higham depot.

“We’ve been recognised as inspiring Britain, but why doesn’t Britain inspire us?” she said. “We pay enormous amounts of tax and get nothing in return.”

The company was founded by her son Kaz with his brother Finn in 2004 and has since improved the energy efficiency of more than 200,000 homes and businesses. It moved to Higham because it needed space for vehicles.

But Inger says she often has to send emails to tell staff to stay off the internet and disconnect phones from the wi-fi server while large files are sent

She was even more frustrated when she received an email pointing out the availability of grants from the Government’s Urban Broadband Fund aimed at helping city companies connect to superfast broadband.

“When you have Cambridge and Ipswich mentioned in that, and we can’t get anything you feel a bit dumped,” she said.

“When we started the business we could not get grants because we were in the wrong place. If they’re giving grants elsewhere, why not here when we have similar problems?”

If they were in Wales with poor broadband they could get grants of up to £1,000 to set up satellite broadband.

She added: “We’re struggling with the internet and being ignored by central government who are only too glad to see us sweating away to make a success of our companies so they can grab more corporation tax, more employers deductions, making us enrol with auto pensions, making us deduct taxes for our sub contractor work force – all this to be done online of course and yet with no support.”

Better Broadband for Suffolk says its fibre broadband programme will get to Aran’s postcode ‘between 2015 and 2018’. It adds: “We are currently working on the detailed timings and locations for this, which will be announced in autumn 2015.”