EXETER businesses are being urged to join a new campaign for better broadband services.
Alastair Banks, director of web design and online marketing company Optix Solutions, argues slow internet access is undermining the city's competitiveness. And Exeter Chamber of Commerce is backing his call for employers to speak out about the issue in order to prove the demand for better connectivity.
"We believe certain parts of Exeter are being held back by broadband provision," said Alastair. "Since we moved from New North Road to Marsh Barton we've had no choice but to fork out an extra £500 a month for a leased line because we couldn't operate without it.
"There must be hundreds of businesses in Exeter hobbling around on speeds of 2-4MB, which is nothing in this day and age. It's got to be holding us back from competing against other cities."
Alastair is collecting views from city businesses via a feedback form on the Optix Solutions website.
He added: "We have built this form in order to lobby the large communication companies about the state of broadband for commercial use here in Exeter.
"While our contemporaries in other cities around the country have the benefit of superfast broadband connections, here in Exeter we are severely limited, often with poor connection speeds and no service level agreements.
"I have been told that in order for things to change, we really need to speak up and make ourselves heard."
It comes after business leaders voiced concerns about delays caused by the retendering of a contract aimed at getting firms up to speed with the potential of superfast broadband in Devon and Somerset.
The Get up to Speed! contract aims to give businesses and community organisations the skills to get the most from the £94m Connecting Devon and Somerset programme.
The scheme, which is being run by the two county councils, BT and the Government's Broadband Delivery UK programme, has a target of installing superfast broadband in 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016.
Fibre broadband is already available in parts of Marsh Barton, but BT said it has no current plans to roll it out to Sowton and other parts of Marsh Barton, including Matford.
The Echo has previously reported the frustrations of city businesses with their broadband speeds.
At the time, a spokesman for BT said: "We remain committed to making fibre broadband available to around 40,000 Exeter premises. BT's commercial roll-out of fibre broadband aims to make this exciting technology available to around two thirds of UK premises during the spring of 2014."
Business can join the campaign for better broadband in Exeter at www.optixsolutions.co.uk/broadband/