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BT UK Offers Rural Wales Pensioner a Broadband Connection for GBP150k

Posted: 27th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
salem walesBT has quoted Beverley McCartney, a pensioner living in the rural Welsh village of Salem near Llandeilo (Carmarthenshire), a cost of over £150,000 to have broadband installed. The good news is that BT are willing to contribute £8,000 towards the costs but only if £129,613.54 +vat is paid first!

Mrs McCartney told the BBC News:

"I just laughed, I thought it was ludicrous in view of their profits. I phoned BT and said surely this is a typing error and the girl said 'No, there's been no mistake, other people have had bills for much more than this.'

I couldn't afford £2,000, let alone £150,000."

Indeed BT is correct. During the past 12 months we've seen several horror stories of how rural residents have been quoted astronomical sums just to get a basic broadband link. Usually the cost covers major exchange upgrade work and could conceivably benefit more than one person.

There are apparently around 50 homes in Salem. However we suspect that Mrs McCartney would have difficulty convincing all of them to share in the cost, about £3,000+ each, just to have a basic broadband ISP connection installed.

Chris Orum of BT said:

"There can be very rare cases where additional charges need to be applied because of an exceptional amount of work required to the network in order to provide service. These charges reflect the additional line plant and equipment needed to provide broadband to a particular location."

BT claims to be working with the Welsh assembly government on the Regional Innovative Broadband Support Scheme (RIBS), which seeks to tackle any remaining "not-spot" locations in the country. If asking a pensioner to pay £150k for broadband is the result then perhaps RIBS is not fit for purpose.

In the meantime we'd suggest that those who cannot get broadband in Wales visit the following website and register their details.
Broadband Notspot Registration Wales
http://www.bbwo.org.uk/broadband-3161
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