Ken Eastwood, Oxenhope resident and founder of FibreValley, shares his recent experiences.
BT have taken note of our campaigning and fibre broadband is now available in parts of the upper Worth Valley, via cabinets served from the exchange at Crossroads. We had always hoped that FibreValley would have some influence and it seems we now have.
So after a little research I decided we should to return to BT and they confirmed that unlimited Broadband Infinity 2 (up to 76Mb/s) would be available at home. Our phone line connects to a telegraph pole just a few feet away from the new fibre cabinet at Muffin Corner in Oxenhope, so we placed our order expecting to receive a fantastic service and eagerly awaited our installation date.
Sadly, there was no knock on the door on the scheduled date and a telephone call revealed that there were technical issues and inevitable delays. The following few weeks involved numerous follow-up calls and our broadband service subsequently went off all together. Hardly the ‘seamless transition’ advertised and a complaint was lodged, resulting in a commitment to accelerate installation and to pick up the cost of mobile broadband in the interim.
After three weeks with no service, we were told Infinity 2 would not now be available because of “capacity issues” at the local exchange. A downgraded service was offered that would not include an unlimited data allowance.
With no resolution in sight we contacted BT Group CEO, Ian Livingston, sharing our tale of woe. After a further three weeks we were informed that because our line actually connected to a cabinet up on Marsh Lane (about a mile away) there was nothing that could be done. Requests to be connected to the nearest cabinet fell on deaf ears.
To date we have had no technical explanation, other than that the underground infrastructure was built to provide telephony, sometimes does strange things and can’t always meet the needs of broadband customers. It’s so frustrating, especially as houses across the street are connected to ‘our’ cabinet.
We finally returned to TalkTalk and were connected to an unlimited fibre service last week. We’re now getting 12Mb/s download, which is a marked improvement over ADSL. The BT Openreach engineer who installed the service observed, “It’s a shame you’re not connected to that cabinet on the corner you know. You’d be getting 70Mb/s + if you were.” If only he knew!!
My dealings with BT have reinforced previously held concerns about their monopoly stranglehold and apparent disregard for customer care. It has also reinforced my belief that further investment in infrastrucure to develop fibre to the home is essential if the UK is to avoid falling behind the rest of the world. It’s clear that the legacy copper wire telephony infrastructure simply isn’t up to the job.
This matter is currently the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman and OFCOM.