Buddies and local businesses are missing out on the economic advantages of superfast broadband, according to Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, because outdated technology is confining Paisley to the internet slow lane.
Councillor Macmillan is now calling on BT’s Openreach subsidiary to step up its efforts to solve technical issues which have left Paisley town centre out of the superfast broadband revolution.
Councillor Macmillan said, “The Scottish Government touts the many benefits of superfast broadband, especially for businesses. It’s quicker and easier to download files. It increases flexibility and mobility and provides round-the-clock, high-performance connections – except in Paisley.
“Here in Paisley we have 19th century copper wire technology in our telephone exchanges instead of 21st century fibre-optics. We have data transfer speeds that are 25 times slower than those available through superfast broadband.
“This is at a time when Renfrewshire Council is investing £1million in public Wi-Fi. Our aim is to ensure that residents, visitors, businesses and students have free, unlimited wireless internet access in Johnstone, Renfrew and Paisley.
“This will help to revitalise our three largest town centres by encouraging shoppers and visitors to spend more time there – giving businesses a much needed boost.
“Paisley is already a well-established student town and this investment will let us build on that by making sure students here can stay connected to online learning across the town centre.
“As Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace, we will be looking to attract new trade and visitors to the town, and it’s important we can offer them 21st century facilities when they are here.
“Internet access is also widely regarded as the ‘fourth utility’ – a basic right and absolute necessity to allow people to fully take part in everyday life – and we know the most vulnerable are often the most digitally excluded, so this move will also let us take our fight against poverty into the digital era.
“We have a vision for a digital Renfrewshire and our investment will lead to major social and economic benefits. But that vision is being threatened in Paisley by the town’s outdated infrastructure and I urgently want to see BT’s Openreach step up its efforts to address this critical issue.”
The average UK broadband connection speed is around 12 Megabytes per second (Mbps), super-fast broadband delivers speeds of up to 300Mbps, through sophisticated fibre-optic broadband networks.