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UPD Admin Cock-up Blamed for Lack of Fibre Broadband in Somerset Village

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 (1:50 am) - Score 852

Two councillors for the Bath and North East Somerset area in England, Karen Walker and Sarah Bevan, have claimed that around 70 homes in the large village of Peasedown St John have been left without an upgrade to BT’s FTTC based “fibre broadband” network because of an “administrative error.”

The village itself is home to around 6,500 people and this makes it one of the largest in the whole of Somerset. Many properties in the village have already been upgraded to support BT’s ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL) infrastructure, but the same cannot be said for a patch of 70 households in the south western area (i.e. Home Farm Close, Wellow Mead and some homes in Wellow Lane).

Apparently in this area the local homes, some of which exist within yards of two new Street Cabinets (the Bath Echo doesn’t say precisely how close), haven’t been upgraded and appear to have been left out of the current Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) roll-out programme with BT.

Mind you this is true for many such areas across the UK and will remain so until a complete strategy for delivering 100% coverage is fully defined, except in this case the issue has allegedly been caused by an unspecified administrative error.

Sarah Bevan, Local Councillor, said:

“When Home Farm Close residents recently contacted us about their lack of high speed broadband, we took action to find out why. Now that our research has shown that probably through administrative error certain postcodes have been excluded in BT’s promised coverage, we know it’s just a simple connection problem to existing infrastructure. BT should act straight away to rectify this.”

At present there isn’t a firm plan for tackling the problem, with both councillors merely hoping that some lobbying will encourage BT to remedy the issue. Sadly the Bath Echo doesn’t include any feedback from BTOpenreach itself and so we hailed the operator for their position on Monday morning, but as yet we are still awaiting a comment.

In the meantime the councillors could perhaps consider pursuing an alternative option, such as from Gigaclear or maybe even the local ISP TrueSpeed Communications.

UPDATE 10:54am

We finally have a response from Openreach, although they’ve ducked key questions on the administrative error.

An Openreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Across the South West of England, well over two million households and businesses can now get fibre broadband – and the number is continuing to increase rapidly.

We very much understand the frustration of residents who can’t yet get this exciting technology and we are working hard to make it as widely available as possible.

Fibre broadband is now available to the great majority of premises in this area, but unfortunately the solution for a relatively small number of premises is more complicated because they are connected directly to the local exchange on ‘exchange only’ lines, rather than via a cabinet.

Although these premises are not yet included in any current fibre broadband rollout programme, this most certainly is not the end of the story. One possibility could be a Community Fibre Partnership in which the local community co-funds the extra work with BT’s local network business, Openreach. The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) partnership has also indicated it is making plans for further superfast broadband investment in Devon and Somerset.”

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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.
Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Avatar Colin

    The dog ate the paperwork…. There i have given the excuse see the regular PR department here does not have to.

  2. Avatar TheFacts

    These properties are on EO lines.

  3. Avatar craski

    “BT should act straight away to rectify this.”

    If the blame lies with BT for the error then they should rectify it but with the problem being labelled as an administrative error, it looks a bit like “smoke and mirrors”.

    i.e. Nothing says where the administrative error took place, it could have been the local council or CDS at fault for not picking up the omission of postcodes in their contractual coverage agreement so in that scenario, why should BT take bad press and divert resources to it straight away in order to rectify it, there are no doubt hundreds if not thousands of areas like this where the perception of some is that it is “just a simple connection problem to existing infrastructure”, the reality being it still takes time, resources and money.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      CDS say:

      BA28SD
      Your postcode is not covered by our current programme’s 90% superfast target for the end of 2016. However, Connecting Devon and Somerset are bidding for additional funding to extend superfast coverage to 95% of premises by the end of 2017 and are also investigating alternative solutions for reaching the final 5%. Related announcements will be made in the future.

  4. Avatar shockingly-BT-ducks-up-again

    Would be a shame if an “administrative error” resulted in whomever was in responsible of putting together the list of postcodes not being paid for a few months :p

  5. Avatar TheManStan

    The absence of “BT´s admin error” in the councillors language points the finger at the LA… and given CDS haven´t signed phase 2 with anyone, all that´s left is clawback and any underspend from phase 1.

  6. Avatar fastman

    no admin area — area is exchange only !!!!

    • Avatar NGA for all

      Your doing lots of ELO and there is a £258m capital accrual in BT’s accounts and growing so this work could be done.

      Is the plan to hand all Phase 1 monies back leaving these places undone?

      I note from CDS evidence to CMS select committee that some 150 subsidised cabs passing populations of over 400 premises each were included in CDS programme.

      It is no wonder these places get overlooked if significant portions of the subsidy was spent on what would be considered commercial areas. Let’s hope the money gets re-paid quickly so this work can be done.

      A proper drains up on BT Capital is also needed.

    • Avatar karl

      The dog excuse above is more believable.

  7. Avatar fastman

    CDS is finished so it could be elibible on any procurement that CDS manage

  8. Avatar fastman

    but that might take another 2 years bearing in mind procurement / deployment timescales — (always assuming they were good value for money)

  9. Avatar fastman

    .
    NGA the number of premises alone does not equal commerciality

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