MP joins the fight for faster broadband in Bradley Stoke

Broadband Meeting

Bradley Stoke’s newly-elected Conservative MP Jack Lopresti has vowed to make the fight to secure faster, more reliable, broadband coverage across his constituency one of his top priorities.

The pledge came after Mr Lopresti organised a meeting with the new Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey MP, to highlight the long-standing issues with broadband connections in the Bradley Stoke area.

As a result of the meeting, Mr Vaizey has promised to write to both BT and Virgin Media to ask why the service has not been upgraded, and the reasons behind the delay in providing fast broadband across the town.

The MPs were joined at the meeting by a delegation of local Councillors, including Bradley Stoke Mayor Ben Walker and Cllrs John Ashe, Robert Jones, Brian Hopkinson and Sarah Pomfret.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lopresti said:

“I was delighted to be able to not only secure this meeting with Ed Vaizey MP, the new Communications Minister, but also that he agreed to write to both BT and Virgin Media to see exactly why the service isn’t better than it is.”

“Yet that is what we must aim for, and as soon as possible. This meeting allowed us to present our case to Ed Vaizey MP directly, we asked him to look into the issue on our behalf, and he has agreed to do just that.”

“This is such an important issue for so many people in and around Bradley Stoke, that it deserves to be treated as one of our priorities.”

“This issue has proved to be a real challenge already, and it will take dedication and hard work to ensure that our broadband connections are improved to the proper and deserved standard.”

Because Bradley Stoke doesn’t have its own telephone exchange, being served instead from Almondsbury or Filton, ADSL broadband reception is poor or non-existent in many areas of the town. Although some users are able to choose cable broadband as an alternative, many do not have this option due to the incomplete coverage of Virgin Media’s network.

The town’s broadband woes have featured many times in the regional and national media, including a spot on The Politics Show West and a Guardian article entitled “A case study of a broadband backwater“.

When the Bradley Stoke Examiner ran a campaign in 2009 to urge Virgin Media to complete its network in the town, 226 people responded – but hopes were dashed when the company said it wanted 1,500 requests before it would even “consider” doing the work.

British Telecom has also chosen to overlook Bradley Stoke, with the town missing out on “super-fast” broadband upgrades announced in July 2009, January 2010 and March 2010.

Hopes had been raised that an improvement to at least a “basic” speed of 2Mbps would be implemented by 2012 at the latest, as promised by the Universal Service Commitment (USC) contained within the Digital Britain report. The new Coaltion Government has since said that there is “insufficient funding in place” to meet the 2012 deadline, citing a “more realistic” aim of meeting the USC by the end of the current parliament” (effectively 2015).

Are you still suffering from slow or non-existent broadband in Bradley Stoke? Leave a comment on this post to let us know the speeds you are getting (good or bad) in your street. Click here to check your speed now.

Photo: (L-R) Cllr Sarah Pomfret, Cllr Brian Hopkinson, Bradley Stoke Town Cllr and Mayor Ben Walker, Ed Vaizey MP, Jack Lopresti MP, Cllr Trevor Jones, Cllr John Ashe and Cllr Robert Jones.

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  1. Getting a paltry 0.444Mbps download speed on a BT/PlusNet line in Snowberry Close. BBC iPlayer and YouTube are unusable.

  2. Good stuff – glad Jack has had a meeting with Ed over this.

    I’ve been trying to highlight the importance of this issue to our new MP since he was elected and I hope this will finally bear some fruit.

    I was invited to the meeting but unfortunately the day job is a little busy this week!

    I really don’t understand the logic of BT enabling exchanges such as Bristol West/North and Downend where there’s already plenty of provision for fast access – but at the same time ignoring Bradley Stoke where there is an issue.

    With any luck Jack might be more successful in getting an answer from BT that previous attempts at town and county council level.

    For the record, Juniper Way and 1.4meg at the moment …

  3. Good to hear from you Chris and thanks for your comment. Envious of your 1.4Mbps – The Journal is edited on a 0.5Mbps connection!

  4. Ironic to see adverts for Virgin Media appearing at the top of The Journal homepage (they’re automatically matched to our content by Google).

  5. Ouch – the 1.4 meg only came after a heck of a lot of moaning to BT.

    Ironically I have a 3 mobile Mifi dongle which usually gets speeds of 3meg+ on good days … if only it were reliable.

  6. After having experimented with 5-10 different ADSL routers and their various firmware releases, and having spent countless hours investigating and asking questions on the various ADSL forums, I am able to get around a 1.5-1.7mbps download speed in Juniper Way on plusnet DSL.

    My downstream attenuation varies between -63dB and -70dB depending on whether I disable ADSL2+ or not. The almondsbury exchange is just sooo far away from us to get any advantage from 21CN.

    No chance of getting Virgin cable, even though a few roads away I can see conduits and scars on the footpaths for it.

    The only other viable alternative is a 3g… which I also use via a connection-sharing router. However, this is both expensive, and the latency too variable for VOIP or gaming.

  7. I read the Journal as an outsider now, living in Downend. As Chris says, it is ridiculous that BT have decided to upgrade to fibre to the kerb here (and I’ve been invited by BT to take up a 40Mb “Infinity” service), when I was already getting a 15Mb download speed, and whilst friends in Bradley Stoke still get less than 1Mb!
    The problem with BS is that when it was laid out (in the days before DSL), the contractors used cheaper but less effective aluminium cable rather than copper (because that’s all that was needed for a telephone line!), so the only way that higher DSL speeds are going to be possible is if BT upgrade to fibre. Of course, because people in Downend/Bristol West/North aren’t going to fork out extra when they already get reasonable broadband, BT will claim that the demand simply isn’t there…

  8. The Beeches is getting 4.7Mb at the moment. But this can fluctuate, hubby works from home from time to time (he is in the IT business) and we have noticed we can get anything from 0.8Mb up to 6Mb. In my hubbys technical opinion there are big contention issues, the providers can’t cope with the peaks.

  9. wheatfield drive:

    I am surprised that bradley stoke being near so many businneses and have so many professionals living in the area have not faster broadband.

    In years where people can get up to 50mb download speed we have to struggle to watch a video on youtube because of such poor service, we get around 2mb and we struggle to load some pages, although speed is very variable, sometimes is 2 but some days we got 0.4, is like living in the 90’s.

    My parents live in italy and to make a video call with them is impossible.

    give us fast broadband

  10. Hi,

    I am in bakers ground and argued with BT to get moved onto the shortened loop from the Filton exchange. I went from a terrible 0.5 Meg connection to a reasonable 2.2 Meg connection. But to achieve have had to replace the Bt face plate.

    However the line is a little flaky and regularly drops the line. My ISP is Be There



  11. For those of you getting variable speeds during the day in BS… I don’t think the almondsbury BT exchange is contended… so it is probably down to your individual ISPs.

    I’d really recommend plusnet as they are up front about what rates you will get at what times of the day. They prioritise certain types of packets over others, which is why I use them for gaming and VOIP where jitter and latency matter.

  12. I was obviously very pleased to see that our new MP had secured a meeting with the new Communications Minister and was able to take so many hard working councillors with him. Lets hope he’s successful.

    For the history books it’s been almost 2 years since the Conservatives mounted a campaign to get fast broadband to Bradley Stoke and in that time I know a motion was agreed at South Gloucestershire Council to write to BT and Virgin Media to raise the issue. To my knowledge they never had a response.

    I wrote to Virgin Media and BT in September 2009 and got no response.

    Then on 23rd June this year I wrote to Jack Lopresti asking him, and I quote “Jack, After yesterday’s budget announcement, what are the chances of Bradley Stoke getting superfast broadband within the next 12 months”. To date I have had no reply.

    I followed this up on 12th July 2010 telling him I had no response and could he update me so that I could respond to some local residents. Again I have had no response.

    I don’t know what prompted Mr Lopresti’s meeting with the Minister after a 2 year break!, but it would be nice if he could keep his constituents up to date and respond to their e-mails.

    For the people of Bradley Stoke I wish him every success.


  13. In Fern Grove I get around 0.5mb from 5pm until 11pm (peak times) but during the day (when everyone is at work/school) I can get 3-4mb, but this is pushing it.

    ISP is O2, who use the Be* network.

    If it is a case of providing BT with a petition for upgrades I would be more than happy to volunteer my time to knock on doors!

  14. After reading Cllr Jon Williams comments regarding Broadband I felt I had to respond. What does his snide remark that Jack Lopresti MP ‘ was able to take so many hard working councillors with him ‘ supposed to mean ?

    We all took annual leave from our day jobs and travelled at our own expense to London. It was a successful day and very enjoyable. This trip did not cost the taxpayer one penny.

    The local conservatives have been campaigning for fast Broadband for two years and our MP is pushing this matter forward , but don’t forget that he was only elected in May this year and to get a constructive meeting with the minister is an excellent result.

    The public have been kept informed by the Bradley Stoke Journal, Bristol Evening Post and the Town Council’s web page.

    Don’t think any more needs to be said – does it !!

    Cllr John Ashe.

  15. Cllr Ashe,
    When you see Mr Lopresti next, please ask him if he could reply to the emails sent by one of his constituents.

  16. Jon,

    He’s been replying regularly to my emails about broadband – I emailed him before the election (as I did all the candidates) to ask what they were going to do if they were elected.

    Ian (Lab) and Jack (Con) were the only two who replied – the Lib Dem candidate, Peter Tyzack, didn’t take the time to detail what he would have done if he were elected.


  17. I think Jons comment says it all John. Not sure why Jon did not follow up his email with a phone call. Talk about Bitchy. At the end of the day certain councillors got of their buts and took some action. Where was the previous MP Mr Webb on all this. Why over the many many years this has been going on had you not taken such action Jon. Perhaps you had I am sure you will let us know if you had. Not sure how many e mails Jack receives probably a lot more than yourself. I am pleased Jack is our new MP. The day went very well Jon. Our meeting with Ed Vaizey was very positive and we learnt great deal of the action the new government is taking to ensure that high speed broadband is rolled out as fast as possible to all areas tthat have not already got it. We pointed out the reasons we have not currently the service which we would like for our residents and I believe that our visit has increased the momentum already started by Jack Lopresti and others. Cllr Brian Hopkinson

  18. Typical politicians enjoying the usual snipe at each other. and blowing their trumpet at the same time. Its a pity we cant take politics out of local matters!

  19. This has been an on going issue for 2+ years, and it is a shame that previous MPS did not pressed this issue.

    I am not convinced that asking BT or Virgin to do better will help, just a waste of time and effort.

    OFCOM must apply a service obligation on Virgin to supply Cable services to any customer near existing customers (say 100metres). At the moment they have no obligation, and many streets are missed out.

    BT receive money for Broadband according to how many companies operate at the exchange. Those customers attached to small exchanges pay more for a worse service. OFCOM must change this so BT get paid more for line qquality, and not poor service.

  20. Guys,

    Cant thank all of you enough for getting this onto the agenda and for all or sakes hope the traction starts to work some results. Sorry if this has been asked or published before. For Joe Public, what is now the best way to continue adding our voices to support this initiative? Emails to BT, Virgin, Jack Lopresti?

    Thanks in Advance

  21. Shaun, The Journal is currently in discussion with the Town Council about how we can best help members of the public to support the campaign. We hope to be able to make an announcement in the next few days.

  22. Shaun,

    Watch this space. This site’s editor made a good suggestion to me last night and I’m working with him to help make it happen. We’ll be calling on the residents for their help very soon.

    In the meantime lets not overlook the significance of the Minister’s contribution. It would have been easy for him to fob us off with non commital comments about government policy and what may happen next year. However, instead, he showed a genuine interest in our issues which are quite different to the problems faced for example, in remote rural areas. He has promised to take this up with the big players and although he won’t be forcing private sector companies to act I’m sure his input will add considerable weight to our ongoing campaign.

  23. Chris
    I’m glad he’s reply to your emails. I will now take Cllr Hopkinsons advice and give Mr Lopresti a call; what’s his phone number?.
    Apart from my moaning about not getting a response to my emails, I thought I was supportive of the actions being taken. At the end of the day we should be fighting together to achieve faster and comprehensive broadband coverage across Bradley Stoke and try and do as John Morgan says “Its a pity we cant take the politics out of local matters”.
    I hope the Editors’ idea is a good one and will help to show BT and Virgin Media that Bradley Stoke needs and deserves a good broadband service.

  24. Broadband is shockingly slow for us – Never better than 0.5Mb

    We are in Shepherds Walk – The houses were only built in the last 5 years yet no one thought it might be a good idea to provide cable coverage for this estate. Very Frustrating!!

    Planners and Developers seem more concerned with how many nasty, square, characterless boxes they can squeeze onto a plot of land. Why would they care about broadband when they don’t care that most family sized cars won’t fit into the tiny garages they continue to build.

    Most garages then become a storage for junk and everyone parks their cars on the road. Problem being, the roads can’t can’t accomodate all of these cars because so many houses have been shoe horned in. It’s all about making money at the expense of everything else. It shouldn’t be allowed!!

  25. Yes – I think the “bitchy” comments were a little harsh. But moving on …

    Count me in with whatever campaign the Journal has come up with. We tried before with the Examiner but Virgin weren’t to be moved. Hopefully we’ll have more success this time.

    Give me a shout if any help is needed.

  26. I think Will mistakenly thought BS was on the Bristol North exchange, where upgrading began in June. As most will know, we’re connected to Almondsbury (01454) or Filton (0117) – neither of which have been included in any BT announcements.

  27. Firstly I want to congratulate Jack for acknowledging what for many in Bradley Stoke is a very pressing issue. In Coriander Drive we recieve under 1 meg upload and download speeds. The most frustrating thing is that I work for a private company that provides highspeed ADSL for businesses, but due to my distance from the exchange I cannot do anything to improve the conditions in my own home!! Having recently moved to Bradley Stoke from Henleaze I was astonished to discover quite how slow broadband speeds are in the town.

  28. Hi

    BT have just announced a voting scheme for high speed broadband. It has promised that the most popular exchanges will have a mixture of FTTC and FTTP by early 2012.

    So, please vote ASAP and may be Bradley Stoke will get true Boadband (40Mbs or more).

  29. Woop first vote. Even though I have Virgin cable; id still want other residents to have access to high speed broadband 🙂

  30. I’ve voted too – although Long Ashton is beating us at the moment.

    I suggest this would be a *VERY* good time for the Town Council, Journal and Matters to really push people to this voting tool.

    We really need to show there are numbers of people here who are badly affected.

    By the way – it doesn’t ask for any kind of confirmation after you enter your postcode … could the system be (say in hushed tones) cheated?

  31. I’m currently working in Saudi (although due to move back to Bradley Stoke during 2011) and having suffered with the low quality Internet provided before I moved into the desert (where I get a better Internet provision!) I’d love it if people could get behind this campaign to gain Bradley Stoke the connectivity it needs.

    I’ve posted my vote on behalf of my UK address in Bradley Stoke. Fingers crossed.

  32. “Jack Lopresti has vowed to make the fight to secure faster, more reliable, broadband coverage across his constituency one of his top priorities.”

    BT said it would commit to wire up the five exchanges showing the highest demand for fibre. ( – source

    Come on Jack, now is your chance to make good on your promise!!!! Make this happen for the 25,000 Bradley Stoke residents that have suffered for so long!

  33. We’ll be doing something on the Infinity voting competition very soon.

    In order to help promote the campaign, we’re looking for individuals/businesses in Bradley Stoke who are affected by the poor broadband speeds and would be prepared to feature in a story (with accompanying photo).

    Please get in touch if you can help.

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