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Broadband speeds to new-build Glasgow estate 'pathetic' say residents

Friday, December 5th 2014 by Hannah Langston

Residents of a new housing estate in Glasgow are frustrated at the lack of communication from BT on when they will get superfast broadband.

Despite sitting just 10 miles from the city centre, the 150 properties on the Woodilee Village estate can only receive maximum download speeds of 2Mbps and upload speeds of around 300-400Kbps.

The estate contains working professionals who have their own businesses. Resident Martin Trotter, who runs a video production company from home, told Cable.co.uk: “My business relies on broadband so it’s do or die. If I don’t get a file uploaded it reflects really badly on me and my business.

“There’s been a few nail-biting moments where I’ve been doing work for newspapers filming sport and celebrity videos and there’s been an urgency to get high resolution files edited and uploaded to a site.

“I’ve had to go to my mother-in-law’s house with a hard disc and a laptop to upload three 300Mb files in an hour before, otherwise I would have had to leave the upload process running, go to bed and chance it.”

Local councillor Anne Jarvis (Scottish Conservatives, Lenzie and Kirkintilloch South) was made aware of the situation six months ago but was told by BT that work was being carried out to improve connections to the site.

“The information I got from BT was that it was getting sorted. I hadn’t heard anything since then so thought it had been resolved until Mr Trotter contacted me last week,” she explained.

Residents have been told the estate, which is still being built and will house a total of 900 properties by the end of 2017, should be upgraded to superfast broadband in mid-2016.

However, Mr Trotter argues that there are “not set timescales” and that mid-2016 is “too vague”.

“If they said ‘we can’t do it because of this and that’ that would be different but instead we’ve been fed lies that something has started but nothing has started. The call centre says it can only give information on screen. Then BT push leaflets through the door saying it’s available when it’s not.”

Can't even use YouTube

Graham Kendall, who also lives on the estate, said: “I have tried desperately to get answers from Openreach without success.

“I can’t even buffer a YouTube video on my iPad without it stalling. It’s pathetic.”

Ms Jarvis said that different people on the estate have been given different explanations for the slow speeds: “Some say BT has told them there’s not enough capacity in the cabinet.

“One time they said they couldn’t put a cable under the road, which is definitely an excuse.”

She added: ““The fact that there’s no set date is annoying people. You expect because of the number of households for it to be fine.

“Other new developments are having problems too and it’s entirely a BT matter. I had problems myself when moving into a new house - I couldn’t get a phone line for ages.

“Everyone who wants fast internet is affected by this including those who need it for business.”

Commenting on the upgrade plans for Woodilee Village a BT spokesperson said: “The Woodilee housing development site began to receive BT phone services in 2010, around the start of BT’s fibre broadband commercial rollout.

“The development is on the edge of an exchange area and will receive ADSL speeds of up to 17Mbps. Kirkintilloch exchange is enabled for fibre broadband with more than 10,500 homes and businesses able to get fibre broadband.

“BT has engaged the developers of Woodilee to discuss options to upgrade the cabinet serving the site to fibre broadband. Developers are able to co-fund new fibre cabinets alongside Openreach in most situations.”

Image courtesy of Colin Kinnear

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