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Seriously ill Worcestershire woman left without broadband after six months in new-build home

Friday, February 20th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A woman with a serious medical condition has been left without broadband in her new home for months, with no idea of when she will be connected.

Jill Vizor moved to The Orchards housing development in Evesham, Worcestershire in July after she was advised to relocate to a ground floor flat due to her medical condition.

But despite subscribing with Sky – the only provider willing to sign her up to a broadband contract at that address – she is still without any connection. It means she is unable to order medication online, and has to travel to her local library to use the internet.

Her plight has drawn the attention of MP Peter Luff (Con – Mid Worcestershire), who spoke of the “spectacular failure” by BT Openreach – which owns and runs the network used by Sky broadband – on The Orchards estate in a recent Commons debate on rural broadband.

Ms Vizor told Cable.co.uk she was moved to the Barratt Homes-built ground floor flat through social housing, because of difficulties getting up and down stairs due to her condition.

“However, there’s no landline and there’s no internet and we still haven’t been given a date for when that’s supposed to happen,” she told Cable.co.uk.

Ms Vizor said her previous provider TalkTalk, which also uses the BT Openreach network, told her it was unable to offer her a service at her new address, so she took out a contract with Sky instead.

She was told her new line would be installed in August 2014.

Since then, she has struggled to find out when she can get connected, and said she knows of several people on the estate in the same position.

“The thing is, I haven’t got a choice. The only company I could find that would be interested in taking on the order was Sky,” she said.

'No infrastructure'

“Sky are telling people they can do things which they can’t because there ‘s no infrastructure.

“They are taking the order and not being honest about when they can connect."

Her medical condition means she needs broadband to do things like online shopping, ordering medication, and carrying out other tasks that she struggles to do.

“We’re a society now where it’s an essential, this isn’t something where it’s just nice to go on Facebook.

“Even to get any mobile signal I have to sit on the window, which is incredibly painful with my condition, so broadband is vital.”

A Sky spokesperson said: “We share Ms Vizor’s frustration at the delay to her line installation and we apologise that we have not been able to resolve the situation more quickly.

“Sky, like most other ISPs, is wholly reliant on BT Openreach in cases such as this and so unfortunately aren’t able to fix the issues ourselves.

“We have made clear to BT Openreach that customers should be able to expect a better standard of service and are keeping Ms Vizor fully updated about the progress of her order.”

'Inconvenience'

A BT spokesperson said: "Openreach needed to install a new broadband cabinet, including both offsite and onsite cabling to get Ms Vizor connected. There was subsequently a delay because some of the underground ducting offsite was blocked.

"There was a further delay when a gas leak in the area meant that our engineers couldn’t gain access to the site – and the team had to wait until a new gas main had been laid before they could return to unblock the duct. This was out of our hands unfortunately.

"However, that duct work is now complete, and the cable work now needed is due Monday 23rd February.

"We apologise for the inconvenience these delays have caused. Sky has been made aware of the delays and what stage the order has been at from the outset so they could keep their customer informed."

Adrian Farr, managing director of Barratt Homes’ West Midlands division, said the services and speeds available were the responsibility of BT Openreach. He confirmed Barratt had met with BT to raise the issue.

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