STALLING internet speeds in the South West could leave businesses and homes disconnected if ultra fast broadband is not provided for the whole community, the Confederation of British Industry has warned.

So far £30m of investment, including £16m from Wiltshire Council, has been made in the county to improve broadband access in Wiltshire.

Deborah Fraser, CBI South West regional director, said: “There’s already a digital divide in rural areas across the UK.

"Our ability to enjoy world-class digital connectivity shouldn’t be determined by where we live or work. It’s not just a social case for national coverage, but a clear economic one.

“Businesses have already invested heavily in digital infrastructure. In fact, the private sector will provide most of the £33 billion total investment needed to deliver full fibre networks across the UK. But Government must help firms access those hard-to-reach areas.”

An ultrafast broadband service should be in place to over 8,000 premises across Wiltshire by the end of 2020. However, currently around five per cent of households in Wiltshire have poor broadband speeds.

A total of 470,981 live in Wiltshire, meaning up to 23,500 people have to face long waits as their internet boots up.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “For our Wiltshire Online programme we are currently working with Gigaclear Networks in north Wiltshire and Openreach in south Wiltshire, to support as many people as possible to get access to broadband, with the long-term aspiration of providing access to every home and business, with a fast and reliable service.

"Between now and 2021, full fibre broadband will be made available to more than 8,000 homes and businesses in Wiltshire. Full fibre, or ultrafast, broadband is one of the most advanced fibre services available today, with the capability to carry much higher data rates than currently needed, thereby ensuring the new service is sustainable for many years to come.

“The ultrafast programme represents a total investment of £3m, made possible through the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal with Central Government which provided £1m for the project and leveraged a further £2m of match funding from Broadband Delivery UK, part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

"So far, the Wiltshire Online programme has helped provide fibre broadband access to more than 94,000 premises in Wiltshire and the work we’re doing is supporting residents and businesses alike.”

Some community spirited people took matters into their own hands last year and laid their own cables.

People in Axford dug trenches in order to get super-fast broadband in their village. Estate staff from Ramsbury Estate dug 3km trenches in a bid to speed up a slow internet connection.

This is not the first time that communities have come together to speed up process, and Jason Mann, of BT Openreach, confirmed that around 200 other similar projects had taken place across the country.