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Liverpool independent record store owner ‘fobbed off’ by BT over wait for superfast broadband

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Dean Reilly

The owner of an independent record store in Liverpool has waited more than two years for superfast broadband – with no sign of the service reaching him yet.

Chris Pennington of Penningtons Vinyl Emporium told Cable.co.uk he feels “fobbed off” by the delay.

He said: “We've been having problems non-stop for years with broadband in the area. [We only have] basic services like Sky and TalkTalk with limited speeds. No superfast or fibre optic broadband due to our area being designated a conservation area.

“My wife and I both have businesses and mine is mostly home-based selling second hand records, and we've been consistently fobbed off, both on the BT Infinity checker, on online chats and with customer services for well over two years.”

Mr Pennington explained that neighbouring streets in the former European Capital of Culture have had BT Infinity for years, but there is no sign of the service coming to his home on Rodney Street.

He added: “The main street at the end of our road has Infinity and several of the adjacent streets (Pilgrim Street, Duke Street, Knight Street) could easily accommodate a new cabinet.

'Unwilling or unable'

"[It] seems to me that it is mostly due to Openreach outsourcing their street work – I think to a firm called Carillion – and Virgin Media being either unwilling or unable to lay fibre optic cable in our area that we're being lied to for cost reasons and they simply won't do it.”

A spokesperson for BT told Cable.co.uk that the rollout of fibre across the UK is both expensive and complex, but 80% of UK homes and businesses have access to the technology.

Citing how the UK has a higher percentage of coverage than Germany and double that of France, the spokesperson said: “Plans are also in place to make sure 95% of the UK will have access in the next few years.

“We can understand the frustration of people who don’t yet have access, but many of these people will get access in the next couple of years. It is also the case that many of these people currently have access to very decent if not superfast speeds via the existing copper network – so they are able to make full use of the Internet.

“Our records indicate that most residents on Rodney Street currently have access to speeds of between 10 and 19.5Mbps, which is more than adequate for a wide range of online activities. The precise broadband speed people get depends on a variety of factors, including the customer’s own equipment.

“We haven’t upgraded the roadside cabinet serving Rodney Street to date as it has not met our criteria, which takes into account a wide range of engineering and cost factors and expected demand.

“We are of course continuing to work on finding ways to bring fibre broadband to customers who don’t yet have access – and have also worked successfully with several communities across the UK to co-fund fibre cabinets - such as Binfield Heath in Oxfordshire.”

Mr Pennington’s call for superfast broadband came shortly before Britain’s chart compiler launched the first official chart of vinyl records on Monday, as sales reach a 20-year high.

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