Friday, 18 July 2014 12:47

High Barnet’s third-world broadband service

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Shameful excuses from BT mean slow internet speeds for many properties in High Barnet Shameful excuses from BT mean slow internet speeds for many properties in High Barnet
British Telecom reworks its ever-lasting litany of excuses and is finally being forced to admit to internet customers in High Barnet that it has no intention of honouring a much-repeated undertaking to deliver a high-speed broadband service.

BT’s sales pitch is that the local fibre broadband roll out is due to be completed by 30 September, but letters sent to individual customers who have complained tell a different story; the reality is that over 3,000 properties in and around High Barnet have been condemned to remain on some of the slowest broadband speeds in the country.

A variety of excuses are being offered, ranging from lack of demand to technical difficulties, but the unspoken message is all too plain: BT was happy to cherry-pick highly profitable customers and has no intention now of meeting the cost of extending fast broadband to properties in many of the side streets.

Correspondence from the chairman and chief executive’s office has confirmed the worst fears of individual complainants.

BT says it is “unable to find a suitable location” for six new fibre broadband cabinets at:

  • Bells Hill, at its junction with Wood Street
  • Wood Street, opposite the Black Horse public house
  • Wood Street, outside the entrance to the Old Court House recreation ground
  • High Street, near Hadley Parade
  • Salisbury Road, near the junction with Stapylton Road
  • Manor Road, near the junction with Cedar Lawn Avenue  

Two new cabinets in Bruce Road, near its junction with St Albans Road, and another in Salisbury Road, near its junction with High Street, are “no longer commercially viable”.

Please sign the Barnet Society’s petition demanding that BT honours its many promises to provide High Barnet customers with a fast broadband service

BT has offered no clear explanation as to why, despite undertakings dating back to 2011, it failed to install these additional cabinets when high-usage customers in High Barnet had their broadband upgraded.  

Attempts to enlist the support of the Chipping Barnet MP Mrs Theresa Villiers, and the London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, have failed so far to elicit any indication as to when, if ever, the High Barnet roll-out might be completed.

Top of Bells Hill where BT is unable to find room room for a new cabinet?One of the many exasperated BT customers who has been in touch with the Barnet Society is an IT professional from Hungary who is working out of premises in the High Street, opposite Barnet and Southgate College.

While the college has fast broadband, he has to make do with 4-megabit download speed.

“This is ridiculous. Most countries have a 300-megabit target. If Barnet College has a high-speed service, why can’t I have one too?

Even in rural Hungary we can get speeds of 20 to 30 megabits.”

Another frustrated BT customer living in Granville Road is denied high-speed broadband because of the failure to install a new cabinet at the top of Bells Hill.

“I pay a fortune to BT but get a third-world service and we are now being told we have no prospect of receiving a fast broadband service.”

As a Granville Road resident myself I too have made repeated requests for an upgrade, only to be told that a new cabinet cannot be installed at the top of Bells Hill because BT cannot find a suitable location.

While Granville Road lacks a high-speed service, fast broadband is provided to Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School in adjoining Queens’s Road (the school is connected via a fibre broadband cabinet at the junction of Marriott Road and The Avenue).

BT’s sales pitch is to go on promising a new completion date for the roll out – and 30 September is only the latest – whereas in truth there is no prospect of an upgrade in Granville Road.

My latest approach as a BT Business Broadband customer produced this classic example of doublespeak:  “Your date for conversion to high speed is September 30 . . . but do remember that dates can change...if it goes ahead, you would get a download speed of 55 megabits (currently 3.5) and an upload speed of 14.5 megabits (l megabit at present).”

If you are an aggrieved BT customer waiting in desperation for a high-speed internet connection do please sign the Barnet Society’s petition


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  • Comment Link Friday, 18 July 2014 14:14 posted by Dominic

    This is so frustrating. I too live on Granville Road and have been wanting to get Fibre Optic for the last 3 years now.
    With 5 people living in the house, all heavy internet users, it becomes incredibly hard to do anything online at certain times. I have had to give up many online activities I enjoy such as gaming.

    What's even more annoying about this is that my friend, who lives on Galley Lane, has had fibre for about two years now, and I believe at one point he was offered even faster speeds than he is currently getting. I will definitely be signing this petition.

  • Comment Link Monday, 21 July 2014 18:59 posted by Mark

    I don't really know what and who to believe to be honest with you. All the hostility seems to be pointed towards B.T.

    I've spoken to two Openreach engineers working on cabinets during the journey to take my kids to school.

    One of the engineers replied that "if Barnet Council wasn't run by a bunch of stuck up $%^&!''s you would have had it installed years ago."

    The other engineer insinuated the same thing but in a lighter tone. :o)

  • Comment Link Friday, 25 July 2014 22:37 posted by IK

    I am served by one of the six locations that BT claim not to be able to upgrade. Have they categorically ruled out upgrading these two, or are they still on the possible (but improbable) list?

    There used to be a way of contacting BT about this but now it's impossible to speak to anyone but a sales line which just rubs salt into the wound!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:01 posted by Ben Green

    It's a tragic shame that that neither our MP Theresa Villiers nor our High Barnet Councillors can put some real effort into getting a proper and articulated response from BT and to get them to commit to working with the Council to sort this out. This is a real bread and butter issue that our elected representatives should be working hard to resolve for their constituents but nether of them have shown any real interest and have put no pressure on BT at all. We are very poor represented in High Barnet not only by BT but our MP and Councillors.

  • Comment Link Monday, 13 October 2014 18:06 posted by Fin

    Any update to this?

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 October 2014 11:45 posted by Mark Adams

    I was also wondering if there was an update on this. I always look on the Barnet Society website for any updates on this problem but the subject appears to have gone quiet.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 25 November 2014 18:22 posted by Dr Jonathan Warren

    I recently had an emergency phone repair from BT openreach and when talking to the engineer he was quite emphatic that fibre broadband was installed in the Bells Hill cabinet. He said the delay was due to Barnet Council!!

    What is going on. I am struggling with 3rd world broadband still.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 23 December 2014 15:59 posted by IK

    I walked past the Cedar Lawn Avenue/Manor Road cabinet yesterday as an Openreach Engineer was working on it. He showed me three FTTC racks and said it was ready to serve up Infinity to 100 addresses from the cabinet.

    Very strange. What on earth is going on?

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 31 December 2014 13:19 posted by New to Barnet

    Does anybody have the link for the petition?

  • Comment Link Friday, 09 January 2015 12:47 posted by TC

    I too live on Granville Road and my download speed is currently 1.45Mb/s. There is no update in site as to when we will get fibre. All they said was that they cannot find a suitable location for a cabinate. This is totally unacceptable so I will definitely be signing the petition.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 25 February 2015 21:24 posted by Donna Burtchaell

    I live on The Drive and have been sent similar ridiculous excuses about a suitable location not being found for cabinet 64. It's absurd and lame and likely down to BT not wanting to do it for commercial reasons. This is effecting my ability to work from home and therefore my work/life balance as a mother of two under 5.

    Both Theresa Villiers and Andrew Dismore are on Facebook with Andrew also being on Twitter. I've messaged them both on these social channels as well as sending them emails.

    Would encourage others with similar issues to do the same.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 22 March 2015 10:53 posted by Disgusted of Barnet

    Just ran a speedtest today 0.82mbps!!! More deadlines have come and gone. Vote out Villiers, she is useless and has done nothing of any effect. The Council need a shake up too, they are just as much to blame as BT by refusing the siting of cabinets in the first place!

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 23 February 2016 22:15 posted by Daniel

    This is totally disgusting and has been going on for far too long!

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 31 May 2016 22:09 posted by Godwin

    I have written to our local MP but still stuck in the 3rd world speed. Well done BT


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