Owners of new build homes on the Forge Manor development in Derbyshire, which is being built by Wain Homes, have been left bewildered after an error by the developer meant they would only get a slow copper ADSL broadband service, after initially being promised 300Mbps FTTP.
The Forge Manor development of around 90 new homes is situated in the attractive and large rural village of Chinley, lying in the Blackbrook Valley on the western edge of the Peak District National Park. The area consists of various “affordable” 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses and some 1 bedroom apartments, all of which have been designed to blend in with the current surroundings.
However some of residents have complained that the local broadband provision is not as advertised. One such individual is Nicolas Raimo, who left a deposit on the new build estate in October 2016, with a completion date set for this May 2017. At the time a sales rep for Wain Homes informed him (verbally) that the property would benefit from a 300Mbps capable broadband service from Openreach (BT).
Openreach similarly confirmed to Nicolas that Forge Manor was a Greenfield site and they were waiting to install the fibre. Since then Nicolas has sold his old house and moved in with his family in preparation for the big move, which as everybody knows is always a major event and one that attracts a lot of additional costs.
Recently everything began to change after Nicolas called BT to get an update and was told that he would no longer be receiving any “fibre broadband” service, with only bog standard copper ADSL lines being provisioned for the area. The situation was later confirmed via the developer.
A Wainhomes Sales Agent, Forge Manor, said:
“Unfortunately we will not have the fibre service to our development as first thought, however there still will be means of broadband through everyone’s normal telephone line.”
Wainhomes has since clarified that they first received Openreach’s proposals in July 2015 and at that time they “accepted the development would be a normal copper supply with normal speed broadband“. Apparently the reason why Forge Manor then began telling potential property owners that ultrafast “fibre” was coming is due to a cock-up with the admin.
The developer explained that they received further paperwork for a site at Forge Lane (Congleton), which did promise a fibre service. However at some point this paperwork was confused with the site in Chinley and hence the wrong information was provided. “As soon as we realised the mistake purchasers have been contacted,” said the developer.
Nicolas Raimo told ISPreview.co.uk:
“My brother in law brought on a Barrat development close by in chapel and that development was started over 2 years ago, all have an FTTP connection. So naturally with my home being one of the first 10 to be built I was expecting at the very least an FTTC connection.
The sales rep told me to check local broadband speeds and I was happy with an FTTC connection. I was then told that the speeds could be up to 300Mbps, meaning I was going to get FTTH, so you can imagine how happy I was. However, later when checking the best speed it said the home could only get 9Mbps ADSL+. I was shocked. So I rang BT and was told it would be FTTP, then I called the next day and was told it wouldn’t get any fibre. Openreach told me the site is all copper.
Why on earth in 2017, on a newly built estate, are there no broadband speeds of at least 20Mbps I don’t know, even the most basic uses need 20Mbps these days! Sadly by the time all this information came to light we had exchanged contracts with the solicitor, arranged a mortgage and spent time and money and also fallen in love with the home, but now I am left with an extremely bitter taste on what’s a very expensive home at £254,950 plus £2500 of extras!”
In fairness, Nicolas has been promised a full refund but that’s of little use now that he is past the point of no return. Based on the original promise Nicolas has already sold his old house and is waiting for the new one to be ready. As most people know, the business of buying and then moving into a new home is one of life’s biggest decisions. Lest we forget all of the other costs involved (solicitors, furniture purchases, estate agents, admin etc.).
Sadly the development was established just outside of Openreach’s new commitment to deliver “free” FTTP to new builds of 30+ homes (here) and the new “broadband-ready” rules (here), although Wainhomes has said that they’re still in contact with Openreach and “have not given up on trying to get a fibre supply to the Forge Manor development.” So there’s at least a little hope.
It’s worth pointing out that the current rules (USO) only require Openreach to install a basic copper phone line and “functional” Internet connectivity, thus the main responsibility for getting faster broadband installed rests with the developer. We should add that Openreach are not the only game in town and Wainhomes could have also sought alternatives from Virgin Media, GTC, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear or others, had they so desired.
We have been trying to get a comment from Openreach for almost two weeks but the recent deal with Ofcom seems to be keeping them busy.