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Horton Village Angry at Superslow BDUK and BT Broadband Upgrade

Friday, September 26th, 2014 (3:05 pm) - Score 1,173
horton_village

Some 150 residents of Horton, a small and quite remote rural South Gloucestershire (England) village, have expressed anger at the performance of BT’s recent Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funded upgrades that are reportedly failing to deliver the promised “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds.

At present the Government’s national BDUK scheme aims to make fixed line broadband speeds of greater than 24Mbps (Megabits per second) available to 95% of the UK population by 2017. In relation to this the local authority is working to extend BT’s “superfast broadband” network to 94% of South Gloucestershire by the end of March 2015 and it’s likely this will be extended again in the very near future.

Crucially that still leaves 6% to suffer sub-24Mbps speeds (the minimum commitment is at least 2Mbps) and like it or not somebody has to live in the 6%, at least until the national target is enhanced to reach everybody. Unfortunately this appears to be the case in Horton, where locals had been expecting something “superfast” but instead appear to have been left out in the slow lane.

Steve Webb, Thornbury and Yate MP, said:

I sat in my office in Yate with a man from the council and a man from BT and asked the question – and the man from BT phoned his head office and the message came back that he was not allowed to tell me. We want to know the actual number of people who are getting the superfast speeds of 24Mbps.”

A BT Spokesperson said:

I understand everyone’s frustration. We are battling with the laws of physics and we will push things as far as we can.

More and more villages are coming online and we’re getting down to individual line solutions now. We are doing the best we can.”

It’s important to remember that BTOpenreach tends to conduct their upgrades in stages and the South Gloucestershire roll-out is still on-going. In fact earlier this week we picked up on a small announcement that appeared to confirm how Horton would be in line for a broadband upgrade (here), although oddly the above article doesn’t reflect that.

Meanwhile many rural residents remain frustrated that bigger towns and villages are taking priority, although the inside-out approach to deployment tends to make more commercial sense for big providers like BT; as opposed to skipping the key bit in the middle where you have the most customers (note: urban areas can suffer slow speeds too).

At least in this example there should be a happy ending, while others will have to wait a lot longer to see an improvement.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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14 Responses
  1. Avatar No Clue

    “battling with the laws of physics”

    LMAO oh well at least it is a new excuse, even if equating to nothing more than common BT stupidity.

  2. Avatar DTMark

    “We are doing the best we can.”

    Wrong choice of supplier then?

    Trying some addresses at random seems to return no broadband services as such, just ADSL with just over nil downstream and as good as nil upstream.

    The residents should speak with Ed Vaizey – I feel sure he said that all the money has been found for *everyone* to get a super-fast connection. There must be some disconnect somewhere..

  3. Avatar GNewton

    “We are battling with the laws of physics”

    Another example of an incompetent company. Here is a hint: fibre

  4. Avatar No Clue

    If only Isaac Newton was still around to help the poor sap out 😉

  5. Avatar Rubix

    Presumably he meant to say ‘We are battling with the laws of shareholder expectations’.

    • Avatar gerarda

      Or “we are battling with the requirements of a contract we took on without knowing how we were going to achieve the targets”

    • Avatar FibreFred

      ^ exactly if they cannot meet the contracted requirements surely they should either deploy different tech otherwise they are in breach ?

    • Avatar DTMark

      We know that the BDUK project was set up with an “aim” to supply 2 Meg for all and so-called super-fast speeds to 90%.

      From what I could see, this area should fall within scope of that lower target at least, since people cannot even get 2 Meg.

      But an “aim” is not a contract.

      Did the contract require those aims be fulfilled, so the solution would provide for those speeds, or did the contract simply set out technologies to be used which may or may not meet that aim?

      We just need to have a look at the contract.

      Perhaps this area hasn’t been done yet.

      I am not sure why the residents are angry with BT or where their accountability lies. In any event the residents should take the matter up with the LA who took their money and spent it for them and whose duty it is to draw up the contract and to enforce it.

  6. Avatar Gadget

    Streetview suggests cab 35 is situated in Horton opposite the Social Club, so it should be a simple question to the Local Authority to see if it is on their list.

  7. Avatar dragoneast

    Once you move out of selling things you can see, count and weigh, like vegetables, if anybody unconditionally guarantees anything, then sack your lawyer. I’ve seen (and written) enough commercial contracts in my time. It’s “reasonable skill and care” whether the technology is state of the art, or state of the ark for that matter.

    • Avatar GNewton

      It’s interesting to see that nobody has yet challenged this strange legality of selling an up-to-something service. Its like paying for a pint of beer but only being served half a pint, yet when it comes to anything to do with telecom services users are so brainwhashed into accepting this strange up-to-whatever service.

      There are some posters here on this very forum who pay for an up-to 80mbps VDSL, yet only receive 50mbps, and still think it’s a great deal, because of being so emotionally attached to the beloved monopoly telecom company. Clear thinking lost here.

    • Avatar No Clue

      There are plenty getting less than 50Mb, though those are normally intelligent folk that realise they have been sold a pile of poop of a product/service.

      The stupids as you have also seen you can normally spot which are happy with their slow FTTC and will berate any other NON BT product that offers far superior speeds and general service.

    • Avatar Gadget

      The whole point about a rate adaptive service is that it goes as fast as it can. I’d suggest the pint of beer analogy is more appropriate to a fixed rate service (not even sure if anyone sells them any more).

    • Avatar X66yh

      You are so right @dragoneast
      Try doing work on listed buildings and you will soon learn about unexpected problems, things that cost a LOT more than expected when you uncover something horrendous.
      and that’s before the local heritage officer from the council simply say ‘no’ to a proposed solution.

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