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Villager calls for ‘usable’ broadband after film download takes three days

Friday, May 22nd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A Northumberland resident has hit out at the “unusable” broadband service in his village that means it can take up to three days to download a film.

Neil Asher said it appears that he and fellow residents in Heddon-on-the-Wall are stuck with “terrible” broadband speeds, with no plans to update the infrastructure to their village.

Mr Asher contacted Cable.co.uk after reading about similar problems in the Northumberland town of Corbridge.

The 46-year-old, who works as a service engineer in the security industry, said he currently has BT broadband but only has download speeds of around 0.5Mbps.

He said fibre broadband has been rolled out to nearby Heddon Village, but there is no sign of it coming to Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Mr Asher said he has been told by BT and iNorthumberland – which is in charge of the county’s superfast broadband rollout – that his property is connected to a cabinet closer to Horsley, but the distance means even if it is upgraded he will be unlikely to see any benefit.

“We’ve got BT broadband, but it’s terrible really. I’ve got about 0.5Mbps.

“There’s only seven houses in our block which is set back off the Heddon Road. You would think we live on the moon.

“I tried a little while ago to download a film through Sky. I pressed download on the Friday night and it was only available to watch on the Monday night.

“I thought the DVD was going to come through the door first.”


Mr Asher said other people in the area have the same problem, including his sister-in-law, and said his niece struggles to complete her university work because she is forced to rely on mobile data, but ends up using up her data allowance.

“If I want to look at something on the internet, if I use the wi-fi, it loads half a page or I get an error message,” he said. "My mobile is much better than my broadband.

“I use my data allowance every single month. If I want to download something off iTunes I have to check how much data allowance I’ve got left first.”

He said when they heard that Heddon Village had been upgraded, they hoped that they would benefit from superfast speeds, but had been told that was unlikely.

“I thought, ‘great, where do we go from here?’

“We’re sort of rural but it’s a main road, there’s a lot of houses on that road and everybody is in the same boat."

He said fibre broadband "would be nice" but that he would settle simply for something usable.

“I wouldn’t mind if something took 10, 15, 20 minutes to upload or download, but when just being able to watch a film takes three days it’s terrible.

“We see adverts for fast broadband, we would love to do some of the things it says you can do.

“We’re paying £17 a month to BT, it’s just so frustrating.”

A BT spokesperson said: “The customer in question is located a considerable distance from his cabinet which will impact his broadband speeds and there is no easy solution.

“There are future plans to attempt to rearrange some of the cables along that route but due to the topography and other factors this will be a challenging piece of work.”

The spokesperson said there are currently no timescales for when work is likely to start and no guarantees it will resolve Mr Asher’s particular problem because the job had not yet gone through a full planning process.

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