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BT Openreach MD – Sorry for 6 Week Binfield Heath Broadband Outage

Monday, February 10th, 2014 (1:59 pm) - Score 842
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Don’t blame the hybrid fibre upgrade. The Managing Director (Service Management) of BTOpenreach, Warren Buckley, has apologise to residents of Binfield Heath in Oxfordshire, which last year raised £60k to help roll-out a superfast broadband (FTTC) service in the area (here), following an up to 6 week long broadband and phone outage.

According to a spokesperson for Openreach, a combination of bad weather, the difficulty in making repairs due to the position of faulty telecoms cables and the need for “traffic management” (we assume this is the physical road works variety) have all contributed to the problem.

Openreach said that it had been in “regular dialogue with the residents of Binfield Heath around telephone and broadband faults“, although comments made via the local Henley Standard newspaper suggest that not everybody felt as well informed. In a separate statement Warren Buckley said, “It really is clear that we have not communicated well enough with the community“.

The situation has been particularly frustrating for Binfield Heath because of the hard work put in by around 120 home owners (around 60% of local households) to raise £60k, which is being used to help fund an upgrade to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology in the area. Work on this deployment had already begun, although BT were keen to stress that there was “no link between the installation of fibre and the most recent problems“.

Warren Buckley, Openreach MD of Service Management, said:

Our engineers are here on site and we are working to bring the major cables that are causing the issues with service, back live as soon as we can. It is quite a complex job, with some civil engineering needed and as such I can’t promise an instant fix. However, we expect to make good progress in the days ahead. … I assure you this is a real priority for Openreach.”

It’s reported that the outage struck “dozens of homes” just a couple of weeks before Christmas, with some of those being reconnected within 10 days and others being forced to wait significantly longer. Today the vast majority of people see broadband as a critical utility service and being without it can have a big impact, although some locals were at least able to get back online via a slow mobile link.

Significant civil engineering construction work is now being conducted to resolve the issue, including night time shifts and the setting up of temporary traffic lights. A number of local meetings between Openreach’s MD and locals have also been arranged, albeit coming a little late.

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