Broadband campaigners go street-to-street

Written by  Tuesday, 31 March 2015 09:22
BT engineer installing new Broadband cabinet BT engineer installing new Broadband cabinet
High Barnet residents without access to a fast broadband connection are canvassing their neighbours in the hope of demonstrating to British Telecom that there is strong local demand that would more than justify investment in the nine additional fibre-enabled cabinets that are needed.

So far BT’s roll-out of broadband has reached only 77 per cent of properties in High Barnet.

As a result well over 3,000 households are without a high-speed service, and they will have to wait at least another three months before being told whether there is any likelihood of them being offered a faster broadband speed.

As part of the continuing campaign to highlight the difficulties faced by householders who are without a fast connection, eight local residents met a BT executive at the constituency office of the Chipping Barnet MP, Mrs Theresa Villiers (13.3.2015).

Afterwards they agreed that their only option was to start canvassing neighbours to collect signatures in a concerted attempt to exert greater pressure on the company.

Lists of potential customers can then be sent to Mrs Villiers for forwarding to BT to prove that an upgrade would be commercially viable.

At the meeting BT’s representative Andrew Campling insisted that fast broadband coverage across the London Borough of Barnet had reached 91 per cent, only for Mrs Villiers to remind him that this fell to 77 per cent in High Barnet.

He said that new fibre-enabled cabinets can cost up to £25,000 to install, but this fell to £10,000-15,000 in urban areas. BT needed to show a return on investment within 15 years, and that meant a minimum of 300 customers would have to sign up for a fast broadband service to justify the investment.

BT is to carry out a review during the next three months to consider which cabinets might benefit from the £50 million allocated for the next stage of the broadband programme.

Last year as part of BT’s ongoing roll-out programme, one extra cabinet was installed at the bus stop beside Hadley Highstone but no firm promises were made by Mr Campling for this year’s review.

Because BT’s customers in streets in and around roads such as High Street, Wood Street, Stapylton Road, Queen’s Road and Bell’s Hill have become so frustrated by the company’s evasive answers, the organisers of street-by-street canvassing hope they can demonstrate that there is a strong commercial case for investing in new cabinets.

 

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5 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:06 posted by Michael Kentish

    Businesses in the High Street are seriously affected by the lack of reliable connectivity and speed.

    Our line is dreadful and this affects our ability to collect card payments without falling back to dial-up when ADSL is down.

    We use the internet extensively for stock ordering, marketing, research, email and so on. It really is time this is sorted out!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 02 April 2015 13:38 posted by Rob J

    Do we have to rely on BT. I used to get Virgin Cable Broadband in West Finchley which was faster and more reliable. Is there any reason they couldn't cable the area up?

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 April 2015 20:01 posted by Ric

    Rob J, they will, but like BT, they need to know there is demand. Got to https://keepup.virginmedia.com/cablemystreet (look up "cable my street" if the url gets blocked form the comments) and register your interest. Unlike BT, they haven't been given £0.5bn of public money to abuse.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:13 posted by Peter W

    Does anyone know who the canvassers are? no-one has been round my area (East View, Wyburn Avenue) and we are half way through the 3 month review period mentioned. I have signed all the online petitions but how to I respond to the canvassers?

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 03 June 2015 22:43 posted by Godwin

    Cedar Lawn Avenue appears to be a third world country with regard to superfast broadband. Shame on you BT.

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