Josh Wright: We desperately need super-fast broadband

Brexit is finally done so the first of those £350m-a-week payments we were promised should be in the government’s bank account.

Meanwhile, Openreach has spent thousands of pounds installing trunking into the farm to replace the phone line. We live not two miles from Castleford – where our exchange is – yet we can get only 2Mbps download speed. In Castleford they have super-fast fibre broadband so can get up to 315Mbps.

The plan is to replace like-for-like and install copper cabling now, then install fibre cable in the future.

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We contacted our MP, who came back with a reply from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority advising us that our area wasn’t in line to get faster broadband anytime in the immediate future.

The letter pointed out that we had access to 5G in our area so could get a MiFi router, and that the government has pledged to have 85% of properties in the UK with gigabit capacity by 2025.

We have contacted numerous companies asking about 5G MiFi routers, but are looking at a cost of £70 a month with a £100 upfront cost – unlike in Castleford where Virgin is charging £45 a month with no set-up fee.

As a business we have expanded to try to sustain ourselves – we have opened a shop and tried to take it online, yet we are penalised for where we live because we can’t get the infrastructure we need.

As I pointed out to my MP, I would like to see the figures from Openreach showing the cost of installing copper now, only to replace it with fibre in 2025, compared with just installing fibre now. I’m pretty sure that request will fall on deaf ears.

The government should be helping small businesses to grow and get better, yet we are being hindered by something that, by and large, is out of our control.

So our dilemma is this: Do we pay over the odds for a 5G router, or do we wait four years and risk finding we are in the 15% that don’t get gigabit capacity?

I’m just hoping that once he’s sorted out the NHS, Boris Johnson will have a bit left from those £350m cheques to fund some infrastructure.