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Broadband delays force Stroud man to do business through pub wi-fi

Monday, March 9th 2015 by Hannah Langston

A Cotswolds-based website designer has been left without a phone or broadband connection for four months after moving into a new-build property.

Matt Connors-Jones, who works from home in Stroud, has been forced to use public wi-fi in coffee shops and the nearby pub. He has also had to rent office space while waiting for BT to install a connection.

He estimates he’s spent between £500 and £600 but BT is still charging him £35 a month for a phone and broadband service he can’t receive.

“The key thing for me is getting connected to the internet but it has cost an arm and a leg,” Mr Connors-Jones told Cable.co.uk.

“It has also affected my morale; because I’ve had to rent space in London my days are now twice as long.

Mr Connors-Jones's wife works from home two days a week and also requires home internet access.

“We have to walk to the pub to pick up our emails using their wi-fi connection, we then go home to type up replies and walk back to send them. It’s such a hassle.”

He added that his five-year-old daughter has not been able to do her maths homework since November, as all schools require it to be completed online.

The couple told BT in November they were moving house and the company said it would install the phone line in early December. However, when they moved in to their new home on the Priory Fields estate, just five miles from the centre of Stroud, there was no sign BT had visited the property.

“I’ve made three bookings since but BT has rescheduled them each time. They’ve done three surveys on the house but each one came back with a different result.

“The first two engineers said they needed to do underground work first. I knew that wasn’t the case as our next-door neighbour had been connected via overhead wires.

“The third engineer did say no, it needs to be connected via overhead lines,” Mr Connors-Jones explained.

Customer service 'horrendous'

After speaking to a customer service representative last week, Mr Connors-Jones has been told his phone line will be connected today and his broadband will be connected between one and two weeks later.

Mr Connors-Jones’s neighbour ordered a phone line five weeks ago and was connected last week.

“Their internal processes don’t work – BT and Openreach don’t communicate and because Openreach use contractors they don’t communicate with each other either.

“They should realise that my neighbour is being connected and the system should flag that someone else in the area needs it too.

“The customer service is horrendous, they only care if you’ve said something in the public domain like on Twitter. It’s the only way I can get them to speak to me.”

Cable.co.uk approached BT for a comment but did not receive a response before publication.

There is currently no requirement for property developers to enable phone or broadband access in new-build housing. However, in May 2014 the EU ruled that new buildings and renovated premises must be “high speed ready” from 1 January 2017.

As such, telecoms operators will have the right to access any utility’s infrastructure, including electricity and water company’s networks, for the purpose of broadband installation.

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