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Wireless ISP Bluewave Faces Criticism for Poor Connectivity

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 (8:13 am) - Score 1,224
bluewave_wireless_coverage_map_wales_2020_uk

Wireless broadband ISP Bluewave, which serves rural premises across parts of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire (Wales) with claimed speeds of “up to” 40Mbps for £29.99 per month, has been criticised by some of its customers for taking publicly funded vouchers and then failing to deliver a good or working service.

According to the BBC, the Welsh Government has so far issued about 432 grants (vouchers) to help connect properties via Bluewave’s network and they estimate this to be worth a total of around £350,000 in public funding (based on grants averaging between £800 and £900 each).

However, most of those grants will have been issued under the older but still active Access Broadband Cymru (ABC) scheme, where vouchers of up to either £400 (for 10Mbps+ connections) or £800 (for 30Mbps+) may have been used, and so we’d take that total figure with a pinch of salt.

The article notes that angry customers of Bluewave have setup their own social media group to share their experiences, which has so far attracted 80 members (sadly they don’t include a link to this). Some of those with gripes say they’ve been without internet connectivity for several “weeks” and that outages are too common, as well as the usual concerns about much slower than advertised speeds.

NOTE: The advertising watchdog (ASA) requires UK ISPs to promote an average speed (median as measured at peak time), rather than the “up to” figure that Bluewave uses.

Meanwhile others point out that the ISP has been ineffective at resolving such problems, which appears to be supported by all of the on-going connectivity woes. In a statement the Welsh Government said that they only issue payments once a connection has been “successfully made“, but confirmed that they are aware of the issues and will be seeking a “resolution” with the provider.

A Spokesperson for Bluewave said:

“Your report is an opportunity to learn, we take it on board and apologise to anyone who feels they have been let down.”

At the same time Ofcom, which has also heard the gripes, said the issue was “challenging because these are small companies and they don’t have the financial back up that some of the bigger players have,” which is a fair point. On the other hand we don’t think that’s a terribly acceptable stance when responding to significant periods of connectivity loss from an ISP – big or small.

Admittedly the regulator hasn’t always been terribly good when it comes to chasing up persistent problems at smaller ISPs and many would probably agree that being small is also not an excuse for poor service, particularly when so many smaller players deliver some of the very best quality and support in the market. As one reader put it, you either undertake to provide the service or you don’t.

Lengthy outages can of course occur on any network, such as following weather damage or as a result of broken cables, but incidents like that are normally very rare or short lived. Being able to maintain a live connection to your customers is somewhat of a basic requirement for any ISP.

As a side note we couldn’t find a complaints policy mentioned on Bluewave’s public website, although Ofcom’s own page does appear to confirm that the ISP is a member of the Ombudsman Services: Communications ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) scheme. You can find out more about how an ADR provider can help under our Complaints Advice section.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Dean Houghton says:

    Dyfed IT is a direct competitor of Bluewave in parts of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire but we have always made the decision to not go “head to head” and overbuild another provider’s network. However, the service in the village of Mynachlogddu, in the Preseli Mountains, became so poor that people were constantly contacting us to help. We decide to extend our network and provide a Superfast service to Mynachlogddu and over the past few months have migrated many Bluewave customers with little or no service onto our network. We have fiber and wireless networks across the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and would be happy to speak to individuals or communities about providing services to their area.

  2. Avatar Ian John Bradford says:

    You ought to come speak to me about Airband.

  3. Avatar glassblow says:

    £350,000 of tax payers money plus all the wasted monthly subscriptions that could’ve supported companies with integrity. This is not news it’s been going on for years. Get that money back.

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