BROADBAND speeds in Grantham are among the worst in the country, according to a new survey - but people who live in the area have the chance to get their service improved by taking part in a national vote.
A survey by broadband comparison website Top10.com found the average speed in the Grantham area was just 1.97 megabytes a second - compared to a national average of 6.86Mb.
Speeds are even worse in Ancaster, where the average between August and October was 1.88Mb.
Grantham Business Club chairman elect Bijal Ladva believes poor broadband speed is damaging to the town.
He said: “Without the correct infrastructure we can’t grow businesses or attract news businesses to Grantham.
“It’s vital to ensure that we’ll be able to encourage more people to not only live in Grantham but set up businesses as well.
“The fact that we are lagging behind everyone else and people are putting up with slow broadband speeds may be one of the reasons businesses are not coming to Grantham.”
Ancaster parish clerk Nigel Vernon said low broadband speeds are having a detrimental effect on the village.
He said: “It has an impact on all users and businesses, and particularly in rural areas where you’re very much dependent on using broadband.”
BT is planning to install superfast fibre optic broadband from 2012 and has launched a scheme called the Race to Infinity asking people to vote for the areas which will be the first to receive the new service.
Despite the low speeds in Grantham, as the Journal went to press yesterday only 0.74 per cent - 154 out of 20,829 - had voted for Grantham.
Ancaster is not eligible for the scheme as it has less than 1,000 properties, but BT says it will work with communities where more than 75 per cent vote to ask for an improvement to their service.
South Kesteven District Council is encouraging people to vote for superfast broadband in Grantham.
ICT service manager Andy Nix said: “Broadband needs to be improved in rural areas and this is a great way for our residents to get involved.
“You never know, as a result of campaigns in this area we might have an exchange upgraded.”
* To vote for superfast broadband in Grantham go to www.racetoinfinity.bt.com and vote by December 31.