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New-build residents face £20,000 bill for fibre broadband

Wednesday, February 3rd 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Residents of a new-build housing estate have been told to pay £20,000 – or wait two years – if they want fibre broadband.

The situation has come to light following an investigation by Cable.co.uk into the state of broadband on new developments around the country.

Andrew Dickinson, 45, moved into the Moat House Field development in Marston Green, Solihull, with his wife Bridget, 37, and young daughter in May 2014.

He said he was initially led to believe that Virgin Media were providing fibre services to the estate, but instead ended up having to wait six weeks for Openreach to install standard ADSL broadband.

Mr Dickinson, a technical consultant for an IT firm, has struggled with internet speeds of 4Mbps ever since. He said the slow speeds mean no one can stream HD from any type of service, while working from home is “not possible”.

He has contacted developer Persimmon Homes as well as Openreach and Virgin Media in a desperate attempt to get a solution but is yet to receive any kind of positive response.

“Openreach said as Persimmon didn’t install a new cabinet to the estate, the nearest cabinet around 500-700 metres away will never be upgraded to fibre as it’s too small,” he told Cable.co.uk.

“They said the only way to upgrade would be to privately pay £20,000 to get a new cabinet and fibre via the local estate grouping together."

But since many homes on the estate are social housing, that solution is unlikely to work, he added.

“Virgin said that as the developer ignored advances from them, they would have to wait two years before potentially being in a position to install.”

'Frustrating'

In an email to Mr Dickinson, which has been seen by Cable.co.uk, Persimmon said: “Unfortunately we are unable to provide Virgin Media retrospectively on this development.

“Although the roads are yet to be adopted, the council would not accept trenches being dug into their new road.”

To make matters worse, the development isn’t covered by the government fibre rollout for the region, CSW Superfast Broadband, as surrounding streets are served by Virgin Media and the closest cabinet has not been deemed viable for Openreach to upgrade.

Mr Dickinson said: “If developers worked with BT/Virgin they could then market their estates as being with fast broadband which would actually help sell houses, and perhaps allow them to sell with premium prices so would pay for itself,” he said.

“It’s just rather frustrating. If I’d known the truth I would never have moved, and paid more for a property in a fast broadband area.”

Andy Peters, managing director at Persimmon Homes South Midlands, said: “We can confirm that properties at our Moat House Fields development were sold on the basis that the homes would be fitted with a standard BT line.

“We endeavour to make sure customers are fully informed when making their house purchase and are naturally disappointed to hear about Mr Dickinson’s concerns.”

Comments (3)

Dan
15th March 2017

Exactly the same thing as Andrew has happened to the new-build estate i'm living on. It's a 400+ housing development on a previous estate that was knocked down years ago. There are around 250 houses currently built and all are occupied. We've been moved into our home over a year now, but still no plans for fibre or high speed internet.

I will be working from home this year so high speed internet is a must for me. The current speed we can get is around 3mb which is ridiculous. I've contacted so, BT, Sky, Virgin and Openreach but no one seems to have the answer. All I get on the openreach website is "We are exploring solutions" and the option to fund the installation ourselves. Like Andrew half of the houses on the build are social housing.

All existing houses around the estate are connected to a different cabinet so they can all get the maximum fibre speed. Even addresses that have been previously knocked down can get fibre, but all new addresses are stuck with 1-3mb broadband as they're connected to a non-fibre enabled cabinet.

I've spoken to a couple of Openreach engineers who have been working on the cabinet around the corner and they have told me to complain to openreach and ofcom. I did send ofcom an email but never got a reply from them. I've even tried the local council who just told me to contact BT.

As of yet, I don't even know if fibre or any sort of high speed internet is even in the pipeline.

louise
20th February 2017

I have just moved into a new build and after 2 months of BT having to reorder our broadband because the order had failed, we found out we cant get broadband because our cable isn't fast enough, even though all our neighbours and everyone else on the street has broadband. All our cables are the same so How is that even possible? Its looking like we wont be able to get broadband for at least 12 months so BT are saying! wish I could complain about the speed :(

Sam G
26th December 2016

I live in a heavily built up area just outside London near Heathrow airport. I have no access to fibre broadband, and my standard broadband download speed is around the 1.5Mbps mark. I moved into a new build around 7 years ago and there is still no plan to provide the estate we live on with faster broadband speeds. I find this absolutely unacceptable, especially as when I contacted Openreach all they suggested was funding the community programme (basically paying for it to be installed ourselves!). I cannot believe that we are in the 5% of the country that cannot access fibre broadband. It is completely unacceptable.

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