More than twelve million pounds is being invested by Dumfries and Galloway Council to speed up the roll-out of superfast broadband. The authority hopes that 100% of all homes and businesses will be connected by 2021. But a business, just ten minutes outside of Dumfries, has spoken out about losing customers due to a lack of internet access.
The Mabie House Hotel is unable to take bookings online because the internet connection isn’t fast enough. The hotel’s manager has criticised the council for not moving quick enough when it comes to providing superfast broadband. People nowadays like to book online there and then they don’t want to sort of go on the website and then have to phone up. We’ve got to do this and we’ve got to do that…they just want to book there and then so it sort of becomes oh we’ll not go there because I’m too busy.”
– Phillipa Proudlock, Manageress, Mabie House Hotel
The owners of Mabie House Hotel can’t get any wifi on site so they set up their broadband hub further down the road with a neighbour. But if the wifi goes down for any reason, they have to wait for that neighbour to come home and reset it.
It means they sometimes go for hours without any internet. At first it wasn’t really an issue because broadband wasn’t a big thing back then.”
We lose on business contracts, basically because we have no broadband wifi so when they come back to the hotel they can’t do their emails they can’t do their work. It’s really quite embarrassing.”
– Phillipa Proudlock, Manageress, Mabie House Hotel
Nationally the average download speed is 23.4 megabits per second. The average broadband speed in the Scottish Borders is just 14.7 megabits per second. Cumbria is above the average at 26.1 megabits per second. The speed is even better in Dumfries and Galloway where it’s 27.3 megabits per second. However, that speed can only be accessed at three quarters of homes and business.
I think in a rural economy our businesses need to be able to compete. You can’t compete without the infrastructure of broadband. You can’t sell the fabulous products we’ve got unless you can reach the customers in their homes and across Europe and the world.
– Gavin Stevenson, Chief Executive, Dumfries and Galloway Council
We’ve been waiting SIX months for a phone line and broadband, and now BT’s excuse is the ground is ‘too muddy’ for installation
When you move to a new home having basic utilities such as water, gas, electric and a reliable broadband service is vital.
But Helen Carby, 46, has been waiting six months for her broadband and phone line to be set up by BT.
BT missed the switch date of 1 September after she moved into her cottage in Cumbria despite the previous owners already having a working BT line.
BT Openreach says the ground at Helen’s home in Cumbria is too muddy to work on
Over the past six months she has been going back and forth with BT trying to get the line fitted.
As there is no mobile phone signal at her home, she has had to give out her neighbours’ phone numbers as emergency contacts.
The only way she can get online is by using her local pub’s superfast BT broadband service which is a mile away from the cottage.
BT told Helen that the phone line the previous homeowners had was given away and she would need a new line to be installed.
In one of the emails sent to Helen it stated that workmen had been unable to ‘progress due to the wet ground conditions’ as they were using ‘heavy machinery’.
ARE YOU HAVING A PROBLEM WITH A NEW PHONE/BROADBAND LINE?
Helen said: ‘They seem to have forgotten that this is Cumbria we are talking about. It is lush and green because it rains a lot and is muddy all year round.
‘The farmers around our house would, I am sure, laugh ’til they fell off their tractors if I told them the latest excuse.’
The cottage is still without a working phone or broadband line and Helen has now been told it should be carried out next week.
As she splits her time between her Cumbrian cottage and Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, where her husband works, having access to the internet is vital.
Both of their children are at boarding school and with no phone line, broadband or mobile service there is no way she can be contacted in an emergency.
A spokesperson for Openreach said: ‘We’re sorry about the delay in connecting Mrs Carby.
This has been an unusually complex job and whilst we’d love to be able to just flick a switch and provide a service – this case involves some complex civil engineering.
Helen has been waiting six months for BT to install a phone and broadband line in her rural cottage in Cumbria
‘We had to replace several telephone poles and needed time to consult with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to consider the impact on the surrounding park land. We also need some dry weather to make the ground solid enough to use the heavy machinery required.
‘Our engineers should complete the remaining work this week.’
It showed that 1.4 million households in Britain are not able to access broadband at fast enough speeds to get a decent service, described as more than 10 Mbit/s. While just 40 per cent of the UK landmass can access all four of the major mobile networks networks.
1.4million households in Britain are not able to access broadband of more than 10 Mbit/s
On top of this a third of the UK also has no access to voice calls from all four providers, leaving households and businesses in these areas with less choice when it comes to picking a provider.
Ofcom has said this is unacceptable and challenged mobile operators to go beyond built-up areas, and provide coverage across the UK’s countryside and transport networks.
It also provided technical advice to support the Government’s plans for universal, decent broadband.
The plans for 100 per cent broadband coverage by the Government have not yet been announced.