Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    A seminar on broadband for small businesses, organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) saw Peter Lilley former Trade and Industry Secretary and MP for Hitchin and Harpenden as the key note speaker. The event held on Thursday (4 February) at Putteridge Bury Conference Centre, near Luton launched the results of a survey organised by FSB from amongst its members throughout the Eastern Region.

    The seminar hosted 30 businesses from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, where they heard from FSB member Rodney Hansen of Dark Matter Composites, a business based in Redbourne about how poor connectivity had had a negative effects on the ability of his business to trade abroad and therefore bring in much needed foreign revenue.

    Other speakers included Cllr. David Levett, Executive Member for Planning and Enterprise from North Hertfordshire District Council who is also a small business owner. He talked about the initiatives that local authorities are putting in place to help improve access to high speed broadband. As well government speakers, Giles Ellerton from BT laid out what he saw as the future for broadband in the region. Afterwards the audience was given an opportunity to pose questions to the panel of speakers.

    Graham Buck, regional chairman for FSB said: “Our members have deep concerns about their┬álack of connectivity and we were very pleased to have organised this opportunity for many of them to meet representatives of national and local government and from BT.”

    Peter Lilley said: "It was very enlightening to hear the concerns of small businesses in the region. I shall certainly report to the Minister that in the roll out of superfast broadband greater priority should be given to ensuring that small businesses, which are the life blood of our economy, can have early access to superfast broadband which they need to grow and prosper."

    Results from the survey, which was launched at the event, answered by FSB members from all over the Eastern Region including East Anglia and Essex, reported that only third of members considered their connectivity as good, with two thirds, saying it was average or poor.