CAMPAIGNERS for better broadband in rural villages around Chipping Sodbury are meeting en masse next week.

Representatives of a wide variety of home run companies and businesses based in Horton, Hawkesbury Upton and on Sodbury Common will meet on Thursday, September 25 (7pm) in a united call for an improvement to connection speeds.

The meeting at Horton Village Hall is the culmination of growing anger among business owners in the area over the lack of superfast broadband, despite South Gloucestershire Council’s £35.6million project with BT.

Richard Williams, owner of Morgan and Lotus dealership Williams Automobiles based on Sodbury Common, is organising the event which he said would be attended by hundreds of people unable to run their businesses from the area.

“We have to go into Bristol to upload pictures to our website,” he said. “If we couldn’t do that we would be scuppered.

“The council has paid BT millions and they have not delivered. If I sold them a car that only went for a few miles I bet they wouldn’t be too happy. It drives me up the wall.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s deal with BT to roll out superfast fibre optic broadband to 15,000 homes by spring 2015 has been heavily criticised for leaving numerous rural areas out completely and has led to Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb launching his Mind the Gaps campaign to ensure whole villages do not miss out.

The deal is subject to strict European Commission regulations whereby local authorities can only use public money to invest in areas where there is no current or planned standard or superfast broadband.

David Perry, deputy chief executive of the council, is expected to attend the meeting along with Me Webb and representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses and the Countryside Alliance.

All are welcome to attend.