Monday, 10 November 2014 12:49

Dire broadband speeds to stay, warns MP

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High Barnet needs another nine additional cabinets to complete the roll-out of high-speed broadband High Barnet needs another nine additional cabinets to complete the roll-out of high-speed broadband
The Barnet Society’s campaign to force British Telecom to complete High Barnet’s roll-out of high-speed broadband will get the continued support of Theresa Villiers, the Chipping Barnet MP, but she has warned that many local householders will fail to get an improved service.

So far the Society’s petition demanding BT honours its promises has attracted 117 signatures. Mrs Villiers said she understood the annoyance and frustration of local residents who have been complaining for years about slow broadband speeds, and she was doing what she could to help them.

She told a question-and-answer session held by Barnet Residents Association (7.11.2014) that she believed BT were looking again at the possibility of installing some of the nine additional fibre-enabled cabinets that are required.

The MP had been assured that the roll-out was continuing with a new finish date of spring 2015; further cabinets would be connected in addition to the only extra cabinet installed so far, at the bus stop beside Hadley Highstone.

“As the local MP I will continue to put the case to British Telecom but unfortunately the reality is that there will be many households in High Barnet that will not be given access to high-speed broadband.”

There had been a planning problem in High Barnet when new boxes were rejected and the funding had rolled on to other projects.

“But the rules have changed; now planning is not a problem and BT can install cabinets under permitted rights.

However, the presence of other underground services is a problem.”

Mrs Villiers said the “frustratingly slow” broadband speeds were a real issue in both High Barnet and Totteridge.

BT say they expect 90 per cent of Greater London will have access to super-fast broadband by next spring.

“Unfortunately the roll-out will be unevenly spread.

A number of cabinets that have not been upgraded will now be fibre-enabled but even when the programme is finished next spring there will be some cabinets that are not commercially viable for an upgrade.”

Comments left by residents who have supported the Society’s petition reveal the depth of local anger and frustration:

“Do not consign High Barnet to the dark ages”

“Rubbish broadband speed . . . I have faster internet on my mobile phone”

“Please provide High Barnet with 21st-century communications”

“BT should honour its undertakings from 2011 to complete the roll-out of super-fast broadband”

“Hard to operate a business with very slow internet connection”

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  • Comment Link Monday, 24 November 2014 13:57 posted by Paul

    "...but even when the programme is finished next spring there will be some cabinets that are not commercially viable for an upgrade."

    So which ones are these? And what is definition of not commercially viable?

    I feel completely cut off when I cannot even reliably stream catch-up TV using my broadband but can on my phone!!

    Who can I complain to about this.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:13 posted by Mark Adams

    I've looked into my situation by scouring the internet for various sources of information on this.

    I've found that I'm assigned to Barnet Cabinet 64. Armed with my information I've contacted BT Openreach twice and on both occasions I'm told "...not commercially viable."

    I'd hazard a guess and say that Openreach have some sort of return on investment model which would include or have some variation of the following:

    The anticipated costs for the installation of the green BT box.

    The number of people the cabinet covers.

    Anticipated interest and uptake of a fibre optic service if installed.

    Some sort of present value calculation on the economic inflow that the box would bring (e.g. consumers paying for the service.)

    The number of months/years that Openreach would expect a breakeven on the installation costs of the box.

    If when the return on investment or breakeven point is calculated it doesn't reflect the desired economic inflow or doesn't breakeven within a desired period it would be deemed "not commercially viable."

    I'm not saying this is exactly how Openreach operate I'm just replying to Paul (the previous posters comment.) to give some thought process when they say "not commercially viable."

    The following link shows the cabinet your are served by when you use the address checker option on the website.

    If after the last rollout my cabinet hasn't been upgraded I'd be interested to hear from other people that share the same cabinet (64) as me.

    What people can't grasp is that as IT moves forward your internet connection will be as important as receiving gas and electricity.

    Poor internet coverage will also effect the value of your property.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 27 November 2014 17:14 posted by Paul

    Looks like I'm cabinet 64 too. I'd be interested in knowing the number of houses this cabinet serves as only one street away (Marriott Rd) fibre is readily available. As an estimate I'd take a guess and say that at least 100+ houses are served by cabinet 64.

    I rely heavily on the internet for work and as you mentioned the future of home based services will become more reliant on the internet. It is truly unacceptable to live in a London Borough and not have access to high speed internet. If mobile operators offered unlimited data packages at reasonable costs I'd ditch my home phone and DSL connection as 4G supersedes fibre speeds.

    I fear that we may fall into the "rural" category, even though I'm served by a local tube and train station, major hospital and some of the best schools in London.

  • Comment Link Friday, 05 December 2014 10:59 posted by Mark

    I sent an e-mail to Theresa Villliers asking if there was an update or any progress on this situation. Ultimately there isn't any good news to share.

    On the correspondence I've been given it doesn't say that Cabinet 64 "isn't commercially viable" it says the reason that we don't have fibre optic is due to the fact that they can't find a suitable place for the dslam cabinet.

    Just out of interest Barnet Cabinet 64 is situated on Salisbury Road, near junction of Staplyton Road (you can see it on the google street map view it's opposite the back of The Spires.

    I'd be interested as to why it can't be situated on the opposite side of the road to the cabinet (when you see it's location you will see what I mean.)

  • Comment Link Saturday, 03 January 2015 22:13 posted by Paul

    I had a quick look at the cabinet location over Christmas and cannot understand why it is a difficult position to situate. I too would be interested in Barnet council reason behind this - I guess th re the ones that can give BT permission to install the cabinet. There is plenty of space on that corner or like you say on the opposite side of the road. I wonder who I can contact at the council to get a response on this as it now appears not to be a "financial" issue?

    For the sake of getting fibre I'd offer some of my hedge space for a cabinet

  • Comment Link Monday, 05 January 2015 10:02 posted by Mark Adams


    You are welcome to the correspondence that I got from the MP's support team if you think it will help.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 06 January 2015 12:45 posted by Ray

    We live in Kings Road and despite a repair by the Openreach engineer yesterday we now only have a download speed of around 1.7 to 2 MB/S again. Really poor.

  • Comment Link Monday, 12 January 2015 13:58 posted by Eamonn

    Theresa Villiers has been acting too much as a "messenger" for BT, rather than an advocate, what she should be doing. BT speaks with forked tongue, often giving different excuses depending to whom you speak. But what is irrefutable, is that people served by Cabinet 64 may NEVER have Infinity, and as one writer above correctly says, this means that we will lose out as more services migrate online. And yes, bluntly, it will affect property prices.
    We need to keep the pressure on Villiers, for her to act, instead of muttering platitudes. So keep emailing her; I think that's the only chance of rectifying this appalling decision by BT

  • Comment Link Monday, 19 January 2015 16:35 posted by Dom

    Last month I had a phone call from BT's call centre based in Bangalore, informing me that infinity would be available in 3 months time......with less than two months to go now and I'm not holding my breath on this one. Oh yes, I'm also on Cab 64.....having been shown that cabinet by the BT engineer, it is half full with space for the fibre ports to be added. I sincerely hope this gets sorted out...........


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