BT’s sales pitch is that the local fibre broadband roll out is due to be completed by 30 September, but letters sent to individual customers who have complained tell a different story; the reality is that over 3,000 properties in and around High Barnet have been condemned to remain on some of the slowest broadband speeds in the country.
A variety of excuses are being offered, ranging from lack of demand to technical difficulties, but the unspoken message is all too plain: BT was happy to cherry-pick highly profitable customers and has no intention now of meeting the cost of extending fast broadband to properties in many of the side streets.
Correspondence from the chairman and chief executive’s office has confirmed the worst fears of individual complainants.
BT says it is “unable to find a suitable location” for six new fibre broadband cabinets at:
- Bells Hill, at its junction with Wood Street
- Wood Street, opposite the Black Horse public house
- Wood Street, outside the entrance to the Old Court House recreation ground
- High Street, near Hadley Parade
- Salisbury Road, near the junction with Stapylton Road
- Manor Road, near the junction with Cedar Lawn Avenue
Two new cabinets in Bruce Road, near its junction with St Albans Road, and another in Salisbury Road, near its junction with High Street, are “no longer commercially viable”.
Please sign the Barnet Society’s petition demanding that BT honours its many promises to provide High Barnet customers with a fast broadband service
BT has offered no clear explanation as to why, despite undertakings dating back to 2011, it failed to install these additional cabinets when high-usage customers in High Barnet had their broadband upgraded.
Attempts to enlist the support of the Chipping Barnet MP Mrs Theresa Villiers, and the London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, have failed so far to elicit any indication as to when, if ever, the High Barnet roll-out might be completed.
One of the many exasperated BT customers who has been in touch with the Barnet Society is an IT professional from Hungary who is working out of premises in the High Street, opposite Barnet and Southgate College.
While the college has fast broadband, he has to make do with 4-megabit download speed.
“This is ridiculous. Most countries have a 300-megabit target. If Barnet College has a high-speed service, why can’t I have one too?
Even in rural Hungary we can get speeds of 20 to 30 megabits.”
Another frustrated BT customer living in Granville Road is denied high-speed broadband because of the failure to install a new cabinet at the top of Bells Hill.
“I pay a fortune to BT but get a third-world service and we are now being told we have no prospect of receiving a fast broadband service.”
As a Granville Road resident myself I too have made repeated requests for an upgrade, only to be told that a new cabinet cannot be installed at the top of Bells Hill because BT cannot find a suitable location.
While Granville Road lacks a high-speed service, fast broadband is provided to Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School in adjoining Queens’s Road (the school is connected via a fibre broadband cabinet at the junction of Marriott Road and The Avenue).
BT’s sales pitch is to go on promising a new completion date for the roll out – and 30 September is only the latest – whereas in truth there is no prospect of an upgrade in Granville Road.
My latest approach as a BT Business Broadband customer produced this classic example of doublespeak: “Your date for conversion to high speed is September 30 . . . but do remember that dates can change...if it goes ahead, you would get a download speed of 55 megabits (currently 3.5) and an upload speed of 14.5 megabits (l megabit at present).”
If you are an aggrieved BT customer waiting in desperation for a high-speed internet connection do please sign the Barnet Society’s petition
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