THE Ledbury area could become a magnet for high-tech industries when BT goes ahead with a proposed upgrade to internet access, says a county and town councillor.

Coun Liz Harvey says she is keen that the town, and its surrounding area, should be among the first in Herefordshire to benefit from the promised improvements.

She says that the area is well placed geographically to become a high-tech focus within the county.

She said: "Ledbury is close to Malvern, which has its science park, QinetiQ and other defence-based firms, and its connections to the A38 corridor and Warwick Science Park.

"It could form a link between Malvern and Rotherwas, where Herefordshire has put in a bid to develop the Marches Enterprise Zone."

Coun Harvey said that faster broadband would be a crucial element for Ledbury to be able to promote itself as a centre for high-tech business.

"Herefordshire's economic development team is very much saying that improved rural broadband is a crucial enabler for attracting that sector.

"One of the advantages is that it makes telecommuting and working from home much more viable, which is good for everyone."

Two weeks ago, BT announced that it will be upgrading the internet connectivity for the town and the district next spring, giving more than 5,000 homes and businesses access speeds of up to 20 megabytes.