‘Broadband hell’ to continue into 2015

The broadband sage in King's Reach is set to rumble on
The broadband sage in King's Reach is set to rumble on

Furious King’s Reach residents vented their anger over the absence of superfast broadband in their area at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Residents in the Biggleswade area had received letters telling them broadband would be installed by December 1 but this deadline has not been met by providers BT Openreach.

Broadband speeds in the area currently reach a maximum of about 1.7Mb when the national average is around 20Mb.

Local resident Stephen Robinson said: “We basically can’t run our business from where we live because of the slow broadband speeds. Caldecote is smaller than the King’s Reach development and they have got speeds of nearly 100Mb up there.”

More than 40 people turned up at the meeting to try and put some pressure on BT Openreach to implement the services they had promised in mid-November.

Biggleswade Town Councillor Bernard Rix has been investigating the issues surrounding the superfast broadband over the last six months.

He said: “Broadband is the fourth utility.

“When moving into a new home you expect there to be water, electric, gas and a decent broadband service which is simply not being provided in King’s Reach.”

Councillor Rix set up a petition six months ago which received 200 signatures in one weekend and has been in contact with the developers consortium and BT to try and resolve the issue.

Alun Isaacs from the developers consortium said: “BT Openreach continually gave assurances that they were on target.

“Towards the end of November, the consortium asked for another update and were informed by BT Openreach that there was now a delay because a complaint had been made about the position of a cabinet.

“This was particularly frustrating for the developers consortium because if they had been consulted about the position of the cabinet they could have avoided complaints.”

Representatives of BT Openreach were invited to the meeting but unfortunately they refused to attend.

However, James Cushing of Central Beds Council had plenty to say on the issue.

“Like the consortium of developers the council was only made aware of delays by BT very recently,” he said.

“The council is very disappointed by the delay and will continue to put pressure on BT to deliver the works.

“I want to reassure residents that fast broadband will be delivered and it is now just a matter of when.”

The vast majority of those who attended find their work is being effected as they need better internet access at home.

Another resident said: “It has been four years of broadband hell.

“It is a complete nightmare. BT are awful to communicate with and it is an absolute disgrace that we still don’t have it.”

King’s Reach residents will now hope to hear back from BT Openreach regarding the broadband installation before scheduling another meeting.