Exam woe over slow broadband speeds

Students Miles Denton (17) his sister Caitlin (14) mum Joanna with neighbours Jenny Paralimnitis and Mike Gregson. (13061810AM)
Students Miles Denton (17) his sister Caitlin (14) mum Joanna with neighbours Jenny Paralimnitis and Mike Gregson. (13061810AM)

Students in South Stainley are struggling to revise for their exams due to “frustratingly slow” internet speeds in the village.

Miles Denton, 17, and AJ Paraliminitis, 17 – who study at St Aidan’s and St John Fisher Associated Sixth Form in Harrogate – have been unable to print out coursework and have to travel to the library to study because of internet speeds as slow as 1Mpbs in their South Stainley homes.

Miles’s mother, Jo Denton, 44, told the Gazette: “The speeds are frustratingly slow and it has been such a nightmare recently. We are totally out of the loop with the modern world.”

Mrs Denton is also attempting to launch a business, with a new website, while her husband, John, 65, works from Manchester – but the internet speed in the village makes it impossible for either of them to work from home.

“It’s not as if we live in the outback,” said Mrs Denton. “We are right next to the A61.”

Mrs Denton said it added “insult to injury” that she keeps receiving leaflets through her door about Ripon MP Julian Smith’s superfast broadband initiative, which is yet to arrive in the village.

South Stainley’s internet is connected to the telephone exchange in Birstwith, which is seven miles away, rather than Bishop Monkton, which is just 2.5 miles away – both of which are wired to the new superfast North Yorkshire broadband programme.

A spokesman at BT said the cabinet feeding the village is not earmarked to be upgraded to fibre, but “the delivery plan is constantly being updated so it may be possible that fibre is a viable proposition for South Stainley in the future”.

But AJ’s mother, Jenny Paralimnitis, 48, said the problems could jeopardise her son’s chance of getting into university and joked that McDonald’s staff in Ripon “know her very well” because of how often to travels to use their internet connection.

“What are the kids expected to do? It doesn’t make sense in this day and age,” she said.

Mr Smith said he is urging BT and the county council to work together to overcome “particular technological challenges” and is bidding for further Government funding.