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Barratt Homes: Ensuring the homes we build have broadband isn't our problem

Wednesday, January 27th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Developer Barratt Homes says it is not obliged to provide any broadband services to the properties it builds.

Following Cable.co.uk's report on the lack of broadband in new-build homes yesterday, a customer shared a letter they received from Barratt in response to a complaint about the lack of broadband in their new house.

In the letter, the housebuilder declared it had no obligation to provide broadband services and would not consider any further investigations to upgrade broadband services at one of its developments in Plymouth.

This is despite receiving complaints from residents struggling with slow internet speeds.

Yesterday, Cable.co.uk reported on claims by Labour’s shadow digital minister that the lack of broadband in new-build homes is “symptomatic of the government’s indifference” on the issue.

Chi Onwurah said: “New-build is a huge opportunity to get it right. And to get it right with fibre.

“The incremental cost of laying fibre when you’re putting gas or electricity ducts in the ground is insignificant in comparison to digging up streets, so it’s a huge opportunity.”

But customer Steve Baker laid the blame for his own situation at the feet of developer Barratt, who he said had refused to work with BT Openreach or Virgin.

Mr Baker bought a new-build property on a development called Reflections and The Moorings, built by Barratt and its David Wilson Homes division, in summer 2015.

“As a connected city we were expecting high speed services but are struggling along with speeds of 2Mbps or less,” said Mr Baker.

“Complaints to the developer have proved without merit as they have refused to work with BT Openreach, who quoted £12,500 for a cabinet upgrade, or even with Virgin who would install cable services at their own cost.”

Mr Baker escalated his complaint to the highest level of Barratt’s formal complaints procedure at the end of December and received notice of the company’s “final position” on the matter last week.

In a letter seen by Cable.co.uk, Barratt said it had reviewed correspondence between its Exeter team and Mr Baker, and had taken legal advice to clarify the company’s “contractual position”.

“It is clearly evident that this matter is of priority to you and that you have thoroughly researched the provision of high speed broadband services,” the letter stated.

“I do also appreciate your desire to secure higher broadband speeds than are currently being provided to the development by BT Openreach. I do however fully concur with and support the responses provided to you by… our Exeter Division.

“We do not have an obligation to provide any broadband services and I must confirm that Barratt Homes will not consider any further investigations to upgrade the existing broadband provision to your development, either via BT Openreach or an alternative supplier.”

The Home Builders' Federation, which calls itself the voice of the UK homebuilding industry, has previously told Cable.co.uk that developers are reliant on Openreach to put in broadband infrastructure.

A spokesperson said the HBF would "continue to push to ensure that systems are put in place that will deliver the best level of service – and customer connectivity – possible", but Barratt's response seems to suggest that it is not as keen to press the issue.

Mr Baker isn't the first disillusioned resident of a new-build estate to contact Cable.co.uk.

In December 2014, people living in the Woodilee Village estate in Glasgow said they were struggling with speeds of 2Mbps and in April last year residents of Church Village, Pontypridd, said they had been without any broadband at all for six months.

Comments (32)

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Harry
1st December 2016

Should have purchased one from Miller Homes instead!

SPF
28th June 2016

I moved into a new build Barratts property on 3rd of June well after the original completion date. We asked for assurances and were given these by Barratts time and time again re when services would be made available. I also need to work from home, which is impossible. We were told that FTTP (Fibre to the Home) was the best service, but as we have this already installed, Openreach havent switched it on. Openreach blame BT, BT blame openreach and Barratts blame BT. A never ending merry go round. I find it digusting that they do not compensate customers who, if they had known they sould not have services would have pushed back completion. Openreach never respond to anything and now it is getting painful. I had to escalate to the BT chief Exec office just to get an initial response, saying they would take forward with Openreach, but I will hold my breath.

Joe
16th April 2016

I also moved into a new build more than a month ago, at least the builder went as far as providing a mobile internet dongle, but only agreed to provide a further £20 in data which is 4G worth. We use this in 4 days which means I am already £60 worse off. I do hold the developer responsible to some extent, they did not mention that the internet is not connected when they first gave us a moving date. If we knew there was no interenet, i might have delayed the move. The internet is the only means contact with loved ones since Neither my wife and I are from abroad. My work also requires me to work from home which I now do at a very cost. Between BT, Sky and the builder I have had a run around with each party blaming the other leaving me frustrated and out of pocket.

Everybody is falling over themselves to take your money, but once they have it, forget to deliver what they promise.

I work in the retail industry where a small label error is deemed misleading to customers even though it won't cost them a cent, yet when people are being "cheated" out of their hard earned money, nothing is done about it!

Thanks

Joe

Mark
3rd February 2016

Kieran just about sums it up. He's already getting decent speeds around 36mb but determines this abysmal because he's not getting 80mb which is the higher threshold, and he's campaigning / complaining for faster speeds. There are reasons why you're not achieving the higher threshold and I think it's great that your parents in a 'rural' area are getting incredible speeds. The rural communities have themselves complained to MP's, Openreach, Virgin that they feel left out of the faster broaband plans. Good on Openreach for providing service to your parents who live in a rural area! Britain has one of the best broadband infrastructure and yet people still moan even when achieving 40mb speeds which is more than enough to do what most people use the Internet for. I hope virgin refuse to upgrade or at least offer to do it but at a charge to yourself. I'd rather virgin provide their network to places where people can't get the 40mb you're currently getting.

Steve Shields
31st January 2016

Why are people confused about this. Openreach do not care about you and whilst you only have an alternative of a leased line at roughly 10 times the monthly cost of broadband they have no incentive to even try and help you. It's simple business economics. The shocking truth is that we do not have a choice it's their market and there is alternative technology but if they use it they do not make as much money how else do they pay for the football they show on BT sport.

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