“Well-informed lobbying works” as Hollands Road Industrial Estate gets superfast broadband
Over 150 businesses on the Hollands Road Industrial Estate in Haverhill are celebrating this week with the news that they all now should have access to superfast broadband. This means these companies will no longer be held back by substandard phone and web infrastructure and puts in place another piece in the jigsaw aimed at encouraging further inward investment into the town.
This good news is the result of over two years of persistent and targeted lobbying by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Haverhill & District. The campaign to bring superfast broadband to the Estate was launched after a Suffolk Chamber networking event was told that the location was not a priority at that time in BT Openreach’s roll-out programme.
According to Suffolk Chamber in Haverhill and District chair Paul Donno “we couldn’t just stand by and see a significant segment of the town’s business community sacrificed in this way. Superfast broadband is absolutely essential for businesses wishing to compete nationally and internationally. So the Chamber set about persuading two key sets of opinion-formers: BT and Better Broadband Suffolk on the one hand and the town’s political representatives on the other.”
An important feature of the campaign was that it collected information from most of the firms on the Estate as to the difference that having superfast broadband would mean to their competitiveness. This intelligence was shared with BT and formed an vital turning point in persuading the telecommunications company to look again at its plans for Haverhill.
Alongside this information-gathering work, Chamber representatives explained their concerns to a broad range of local politicians, including Matthew Hancock MP, who helped support the campaign’s purpose and drive.
“There is a right and a wrong way to lobby big organisations to persuade them to revisit an earlier decision. I’m delighted that in this case – as in many others - Suffolk Chamber in Haverhill & District shows how the voice of business can be heard loud and clear. Well-informed lobbying works,” added Paul Donno.
John Mayhew, a board member of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Haverhill & District explained how “this good news is a further shot in the arm for the efforts of ONE Haverhill – of which the Chamber is a part – in making this fantastic town as accessible and as attractive as possible to outside businesses looking to invest here. Things are really looking up for Haverhill now!”
Suffolk Chamber is now urging businesses to contact their broadband providers to ask for upgrades to the superfast technology.