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Welsh new-build estate without broadband for six months

Tuesday, April 21st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A new-build estate in Wales has been without phones lines or broadband for six months, with no sign of getting online soon, a frustrated resident has claimed.

Around 50 households on the estate in Church Village, near Pontypridd, are thought to have signed up for broadband since October 2014, yet still have no internet or phone line, according to one man.

And Dan Brooksbank told Cable.co.uk that new homes are still being built, with new residents moving in.

The 37-year-old, who moved to the estate with fiancée Caroline last month, arranged with Sky to bring his existing TV, phone and broadband to their new address.

A BT Openreach engineer came to connect the phone line shortly after they moved in. He installed a cable from outside the property to an interior phone point, but could do no more.

Mr Brooksbank later spoke to neighbours and learned that the estate had not actually been connected to the local telephone exchange.

He tried to get dates from Sky, his service provider, for when this was likely to happen, but struggled to get any information.

There are around 50 households who still have no phone or broadband, he estimated, with the estate eventually due to contain more than 300 homes.

'Mammoth task'

“You may imagine the estate is high atop a remote mountaintop location or nestled in an abandoned creek and the task of installing communication infrastructure would be a mammoth task.

“There are homes and businesses within feet of the estate which have been in place for decades and have telephone services.”

Mr Brooksbank, who works for a charity, said having a telephone and broadband is a “vital communication tool, not a frivolity”.

He said: “Both my partner and I have pay as you go mobile phones which are costly to use for calls and internet access.”

Not being able to shop online is limiting their purchase choices, and means they struggle to check their email accounts – especially difficult when Sky tries to use internet communication.

He added: “As we have moved house we have needed to update our contact details for banks, medical, DVLA and other subscribed services.

“With the internet this would have been a quick task, but being restricted to calls or postal changes it's a slow and laborious process.”

Mr Brooksbank said the developers did not seem interested, service providers were generating excuses, and BT Openreach were “noticeable by their absence”.

He added: “In this day and age, where we can travel to other planets and clone or print anything, how could it be so difficult to equip a recently established housing estate with vital communications?”

'Disappointing'

Delays to connect Mr Brooksbank are believed to be caused by the need to install a line between the boundary of the estate and the exchange.

The cabling work is expected to be completed this week and Mr Brooksbank has been assigned a dedicated case manager by Sky to keep him updated.

Mr Brooksbank contacted BT Openreach’s New Site Development Queries Team, and was told that they expected to be able to provide his development with service by 21 May.

He was told installation of the service to his premises might take longer depending on the appointment agreed with Openreach and his chosen service provider.

His message also said: “I appreciate the delay is disappointing and I’m sorry that we have not yet been able to provide you with service.

“We will review progress at the development and if our expected completion date changes, we will let you know.

“We will also be keeping your chosen service provider informed about the progress of your specific order so they will be able to keep you updated on progress if you need it and should remain your primary point of contact.”

Martin Smith, managing director at Persimmon Homes East Wales, said: “As with all new developments we are responsible for the installation of the ducting that houses broadband cabling.

“The actual cabling is provided and installed by the broadband provider.”

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