BT struggling to cope with superfast broadband demand

Reporter:

Barrie White

Shropshire Council deputy leader Steve Charmley, councillor for Whittington, has criticised broadband provider BT for not being prepared to cope with demand in the village.

Some residents in the village are unable to access top-speed broadband as a BT cabinet is currently full to capacity, and Councillor Charmley says he has been told it will be at least four months before fast fibre broadband is available.

Cllr Charmley, who has responsibility for broadband in Shropshire, admitted he is frustrated by the delay, which he deems ‘unacceptable’, and questioned BT’s business model for being able to provide services for customers.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Cllr Charmley.

“Why aren’t they building capacity into the system to allow for surges in take up in local areas? That’s my big problem.

“I’m not comfortable promoting super fast broadband, running around like a headless chicken trying to get people signed up to the service, if there’s no capacity in the system.

Cllr Charnley added that he doesn’t think the broadband will impact on people choosing to move to Whittington, but does think the failure to cope with demand could be an embarrassment to BT, who are based in Whittington House, in Whittington Road.

He added: “It’s a simple ‘yes’, on that fact.

“When we were setting up Connecting Shropshire with BT, Whittington wasn’t in any commercial roll out or the Connecting Shropshire one. I said, ‘hold on, how can you have the biggest employer in the area, BT, within spitting distance of the village, and not supplying anything’.

“I campaigned hard to get their commercial programme rolled out in the patch, and now they’re telling us it’s been too successful and won’t be available for five months.” 

BT apologised for any inconvenience caused by a lack of fast fibre broadband, and says the area is waiting to be upgraded by Openreach.

A spokeswoman said: “The cabinet in question has exceeded all expectations in terms of take-up, and arrangements are in hand by Openreach – BT's local network business – to increase capacity as soon as possible to enable more local people to be able to order faster fibre broadband.”

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