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More broadband misery as extent of problem in Castle Gresley is revealed

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DOZENS of people living with substandard broadband have come forward to express their misery of being unable to work from home, study for university, or even use the phone or the internet at the same time. Following an article in the Mail yesterday, we have been inundated with phone calls revealing the extent of the slow internet issue in Castledon Heights estate, in Castle Gresley. BT said it is investigating the problem which is leaving residents with broadband speeds slower than dial-up internet of 20 years ago.

Sean Doyle, a business development executive who lives in Croydon Close, explained that the issue is embarrassing as he was recently unable to video conference the United Nations, in New York, for work due to the poor broadband speeds of 1.4Mbps. The 44-year-old said: “It’s laughable. I can’t do video conferencing because it keeps buffering. I’m just trying to work and earn a living for my family, but I need the internet as part of what I do.

“There is no chance with things like Netflix, it would be a waste of money.

“When we first moved in we were told we would get fibre optic in the next few months. That was in November 2013. I just want to be given what we were promised.”

Another resident, Wayne Hiden, 31, a quality technician at Pirelli, explained that his broadband speed is so slow at 0.5Mbps that he is unable to use his phone and his internet at the same time as it used to be with dial-up internet.

The Sunderland Close resident said: “It is a first world problem, and it seems terrible to be moaning about it, but you do need the internet.

“We have two young kids and when they want to stream TV it’s one person online at a time. It’s barmy. We don’t get a phone signal so we use the internet to make phone calls and send texts, but we cannot use both at the same time. It’s like having dial-up.”

Neighbour Amanda Knight, 43, who also lives in Sunderland Close, said that her 19-year-old daughter Aimee has been struggling to study for her university law exams while at home over the Easter holidays as the internet is so slow. The Royal Navy medic said: “Aimee is getting so frustrated as she is trying to do research on the internet, but it is just too slow. She is desperate to get back to university now.

“It is not fair when we are paying exactly the same amount as other people who are getting the right speed.

“It sounds dramatic but I feel like we are living in the Third World.

Dial-up was better than this.”

A spokesperson for Barratt and David Wilson Homes said: “We understand the importance to our customers of having effective internet connections and we have provided all facilities required by BT Openreach to supply residents of Castle Heights and Highgrove with these services.

“The actual service and speeds available are the responsibility of the service provider, and so we will continue to press BT Openreach to resolve this issue.”

No-one was available from BT as the Mail went to press.


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BT extends fibre roll-out across London

Home Technolgy BT extends fibre roll-out across London12

BT is to expand its fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)3 broadband roll-out across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea, as well as Tech City in central London, as part of a city-wide programme to take its coverage in the capital from 90% to 95%. Having already passed around many hundreds of thousands premises in London, BT s infrastructure arm Openreach4 has now said it will aim to hit an additional 101,000 in the next two years. The money for the extended roll-out will come from an additional tranche of 50m worth of funding BT previously earmarked broadband in UK cities. This is on top of the 3bn it is currently spending on its commercial fibre roll-out.

BT claims London is already one of the best connected cities in the world, with every business theoretically having access to 1Gbps and above through dedicated leased lines5, although many businesses in London in fact use much slower services.

Openreach engineers have been working flat out to bring fibre to more than 23 million homes and businesses across the country in record time and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our investment has helped make the UK s broadband infrastructure among the best in Europe, said Openreach chief executive Joe Garner.

Installing fibre in urban areas can be challenging, but thanks to new techniques and extra investment we will now be able to reach hundreds of thousands of additional homes and businesses across London, he said. Croydon Council leader Tony Newman said: Fast connectivity is increasingly important to many in the borough, especially the burgeoning Croydon Tech City community6, and this announcement will help support our ambitious plans for the growth of the borough. Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City, which spans a number of central London boroughs said: For London to maintain its standing as a global centre of business, it s crucial that our digital companies have access to the best possible connectivity.

Tech City UK has been working with BT Group and other service providers to help identify where additional coverage would be of most benefit to the tech community.

This investment represents a step in the right direction for digital businesses across the capital. There is a collective responsibility for property developers, service providers and industry bodies to ensure high-speed broadband is available to all. Openreach s investment will focus on upgrading cabinets that it had missed previously due to technical challenges or planning issues, adding new cabinets to serve multiple-occupancy blocks, and installing more fibre to the remote node (FTTRN) technology. The issue of broadband expansion in London which is almost entirely covered by BT s commercial roll-out has taken a backseat in the past to the more controversial BDUK rural roll-out. However, speeds in parts of the capital are comparably slow to some rural areas.

However, it was recently announced that Wandsworth Council plan to bring gigabit connectivity to public housing7 in Battersea, Putney and Wandsworth after teaming up with altnet Community Fibre.

It also began a public consultation to encourage borough residents to help it build a business case to attract further investment.


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