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Couple left waiting for broadband while Openreach 'installs fibre in empty homes'

Tuesday, June 26th 2018 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A young couple have been without broadband in their new-build home for two months – despite Openreach engineers being on-site at least three times a week.

Michael MacKenzie, 26, and his partner Lucy Irvine, 22, moved onto the Abbey Farm development in Swindon in April and have been trying, in vain, to get broadband installed ever since.

Openreach is installing fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology across the Linden Homes development, with each home meant to be connected prior to anyone moving in.

“However, this has not been the case for us and we’ve been left with only part of the installation work being completed,” Mr MacKenzie told Cable.co.uk. “Therefore, we’re unable to contact network providers to get a service set up.

“I’ve called BT and Openreach numerous times and have never been given an answer as to what the problems are and what is taking so long.”

An email to the CEOs of both companies did elicit a response but Mr MacKenzie said there has still been precious little progress in terms of actually getting a service up and running.

'Incredibly stressed'

What makes the situation even more frustrating for the couple is that engineers are around all the time, hooking up empty houses while theirs remains unconnected.

“From what I’ve seen Openreach are on-site around three days a week minimum and are completing houses which are unoccupied,” said Mr MacKenzie, who works for WHSmith as a merchandiser.

Like many new-build residents, Mr MacKenzie and Miss Irvine didn’t inquire about broadband ahead of buying their property as they simply didn’t think it would have caused this much of a problem.

“We only spoke to [Linden Homes] once we found out the installation at the house wasn’t ready. They told us it was with Openreach to resolve.

“Obviously we feel incredibly stressed, especially with Lucy doing her degree, she’s really struggled to be able to submit work on time and do the research online. It’s taken the shine off getting our first house really.”

In marketing for the Abbey Farm development, Linden Homes says it understands the need for 'stress-free' homebuying

'Sorry for the delay'

An Openreach spokesperson said: "We’re very sorry for the delay in providing service to Mr Mackenzie and we’re working hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We expect to have engineers on site over the next week to start installing the fibre."

A spokesperson for Linden Homes Thames Valley said: "The homes at this development have been sold off-plan and we work to a build programme which includes network connections for each property.

"We were only advised by BT that there was an issue when the customer was due to move in. We shall ensure that we keep our residents at Abbey Farm informed as soon as there are more updates to share.”

Cable.co.uk has reported on a number of broadband problems suffered by new-build residents – with long waits to get connected not uncommon. In 2015 we told the story of Jill Vizor, who was left without broadband for eight months after moving onto a new development in Evesham, Worcestershire.

And last year, research carried out as part of a wider investigation into the issue found that people moving into new-builds are twice as likely to wait a month or more for broadband than those moving into homes with previous owners.

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