Dumfries businesses lose out over lack of superfast broadband

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

Ultrafast broadband arrives in Cumbrian villages

Ultrafast Broadband Arrives In Cumbrian Villages

Tim Farron outside Damson Dene Hotel

by Joshua Hammond

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 2:03PM

Three south Cumbrian villages have been connected to an Ultrafast broadband network. Around 480 households and businesses in the villages of Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer now have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK. Engineers from Openreach installed 12km of overhead fibre cabling and pruned hundreds of trees en route in order to run the cable between telegraph poles.

The new Fibre-to- the-Premises (FTTP) network is capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to households and businesses in the three villages. Jonathan Denby, managing director of the South Lakes Hotels and the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite, said: “It seems like a miracle that we have ultrafast broadband in the middle of the Lake District National Park.

“This is a really fantastic service and exactly what our guests need. It puts the Lake District on a par with a big city like London.

“We get so many guests from places like Tokyo and Beijing and although our railways may remind them of the Middle Ages, our internet is up there with the rest of the world.”

Jonathan Harris, senior programme manager for Connecting Cumbria said: “Connecting Cumbria is doing everything it can to reach as many parts of Cumbria as possible.

“It’s great to hear time and time again how fibre broadband is helping businesses and residents across the county to do more.”

Further ultrafast fibre broadband will be brought to the surrounding area during Summer and Autumn 2017.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “This is great news for these villages.

“Access to top quality broadband is not only important for local residents, it is also vital for our local economy.

“It enables businesses based in villages in rural Cumbria to connect to the global economy, reaching new markets and helping to support local jobs.”

He added: “Investing in broadband infrastructure will give a real boost to the local economy.

“It is vital that ultrafast broadband continues to be rolled out across the county, so that we can compete on the international stage.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 5:05AM

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

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.

Helen said it took five months to get this information from BT and she’s now been told that the ground is ‘too muddy’ to do the work of installing the new line, it was reported on[1].

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 installing a new phone line or broadband service? This is Money would like to hear your story, contact:[2]

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

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.’

The regulator Ofcom looked at broadband access in rural areas in its recent Connected Nations repor[3]t.

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

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.


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