MP tackles BT but is High Barnet any the wiser?

Written by  Thursday, 06 February 2014 18:03
Theresa Villiers tackles BT over High Barnet broadband fiasco Theresa Villiers tackles BT over High Barnet broadband fiasco
A long-awaited meeting between Theresa Villiers MP and senior executives of British Telecom has still left unanswered many of the questions about when – or if ever – many High Barnet residents will be offered a superfast broadband connection.

Two senior BT representatives told Mrs Villiers at a meeting in the House of Commons (5.2.2014) that by the time a programme of broadband improvement in London is finished “in the spring, they expect 93 per cent of the London Borough of Barnet to have access to fast broadband with many able to access services with speeds of up to 80Mb”.

Fifty-five new telecoms cabinets have been installed in the Chipping Barnet constituency as part of the work already done, with around 25,000 premises to benefit from upgrade programme.

Mrs Villiers said it had been “a useful discussion” and she welcomed the work which BT had undertaken, but she was concerned that some of her constituents still “aren’t able to get the broadband speeds they want”.

Still aren’t able to get the broadband speeds they want

And herein is the nub of the problem: there is no mention of a date when the forgotten 7 per cent of households in the London Borough of Barnet might ever get a fast broadband service and, more importantly, in the view of the Barnet Society, the share of the 7 per cent of homes apparently abandoned by British Telecom is known to be far higher in High Barnet than other built-up parts of the borough, due to conservation areas and the proximity of the green belt.

BT broadband is not available to all High Barnet residentsBT broadband is not available to all High Barnet residentsCorrespondence last year between Barnet householders and BT revealed that 10 per cent of premises served by the Barnet telephone exchange can be offered no date for fast broadband connection.

Comments posted on the Barnet Society’s website in response our report last October High Barnet’s broadband fiasco continue to show the extent of local frustration at the repeated failure of British Telecom to give a meaningful explanation as to why so many households are being excluded from the upgrade.

A posting by Mark Adams (17.1.2014) about the failure to provide access to fibre optic broadband in Carnarvon Road revealed that houses in a street next to Chipping Barnet Library are outside the “footprint” of the nearest cabinet and are apparently not worth being provided with a superfast service.

Mr Adams said all he received was a “canned response” from BT:
"Dear Sir, Thank you for your enquiry about Barnet cabinet 64. Our deployment is based on the commercial criteria for each cabinet and your cabinet fails to meet the commercial criteria.
Where cabinets are not in our footprint, it is worth contacting your London Assembly Member or local council to register your interest in case any government funding becomes available to help fund deployment.

In a statement on her  website Mrs Villiers says she arranged her meeting with BT’s manager for London, Southern and Eastern England, Andrew Campling, along with Clova Fyfe, head of parliamentary affairs for BT, in order to discuss the representations made by the Barnet Society.

She had been in correspondence for some time with BT over complaints from constituents about the lack of superfast speeds, and a face-to-face meeting was a good opportunity to emphasise how important the issue was in Chipping Barnet.

“We talked through in detail the work which BT is doing on upgrading broadband facilities in my constituency.

While I welcome the work which has been done, I know that some of my constituents still aren’t able to get the broadband speeds they want.

I will continue to press BT to ensure that as many homes and businesses as possible can be connected to fibre broadband in Chipping Barnet.

Constituents have expressed some anxiety that the dates for delivering the upgrade in certain parts of Barnet had slipped to the summer.  I raised this with BT and they promised to investigate further.”

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5 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 07 February 2014 15:42 posted by Duncan Macdonald

    It's not just High Barnet. I'm in Underhill off of Mays Lane. The BT cabinet that serves my house is halfway up Manor Road but Openreach say they can't add another cabinet next to the existing one because the council have blocked it. I've emailed all the Underhill Councillors but not one replied so don't hold your breath for any help from the council any time soon. I hope Mrs Villiers can put some pressure on all parties involved.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 08 June 2014 14:31 posted by Lucy

    We live in Salisbury road. I wanted to upload some data to the cloud. On our speed it was estimated to take 3 months. In the end I gave up and went to a friends with fibre optic where it will take 24 hrs. I'd welcome continued pressure and updates on this

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 01 July 2014 16:38 posted by Jason

    It appears to me that our illustrious MP is either having smoke blown up her or she is blowing up us.
    A matter as simple as kicking BT into touch is seemingly beyond ms Villiers .
    BTs' fibre rollout in high barnet Has been promised imminently for the last 2 yrs.
    BT are obviously bothered by a government minister

  • Comment Link Friday, 05 June 2015 10:38 posted by Dr Jonathan Warren

    I live at 122a Wood Street and cannot get fibre. However houses 3 along from mine, all further away from the exchange can get fibre! They are connected to an "Arkley"cabinet but our lines are connected to the Bells Hill. This is a disgrace.

  • Comment Link Monday, 01 February 2016 14:04 posted by Godwin Daniel

    Just as a matter of interest have the BT Executives given themselves a mighty bonus and a whopping increase in their salaries?

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