Hopes that people living in one of Bradley Stoke’s broadband ‘slow spots’ might be able to subscribe to new superfast (24Mbps+) services in time for Christmas have been dashed after BT quietly put back the ‘first order’ date to the end of the year.
The telecommunications giant announced in April 2011 that it would be upgrading its Filton telephone exchange (serving 0117 numbers) to provide superfast fibre broadband to thousands more customers “by the end of 2012”, but homes in Bradley Stoke that are not within the coverage area of rival service provider Virgin Media are yet to see any benefit from the investment.
After seeing the projected ‘first order’ date repeatedly slipped by BT, customers in ‘the herbs’ area of south Bradley Stoke were given hope when work to install a new fibre broadband cabinet at the junction of Baileys Court Road and Ellan Hay Road began in early August. At the time, BT’s online broadband availability checker was indicating a ‘first order’ date of 30th September for homes served by the new cabinet (number 44).
Electrical power for the new cabinet was installed by Western Power Distribution at the end of September, but, just days later, the ‘first order’ date was quietly slipped again to 31st October.
Then, when 31st October arrived, the ‘first order’ date disappeared from BT’s website altogether, to be replaced by the following message:
“FTTC [Fibre to the Cabinet] is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Sorry it’s taking us longer than planned to get your cabinet ready for service. Please bear with us.”
A day later, the BT checker page was listing a ‘first order’ date of “Nov-Dec 2013”, which was subsequently modified to “31st Dec 2013” on 2nd November.
Customers connected to the Almondsbury telephone exchange (01454 numbers) have even longer to wait to be brought out of the “digital ghetto”. More than 3,500 homes in Bradley Stoke served from that exchange are set to benefit from a state-aided investment programme coordinated by South Gloucestershire Council. It is anticipated that the first homes eligible for upgrade under this programme will be able to order superfast broadband services “from summer 2014”.
Thousands of homes in Bradley Stoke currently receive broadband speeds below the government’s minimum target of 2Mbps at a time when the average speed across the country is in excess of 12Mbps.
Photo: Newly-installed BT fibre cabinet near the junction of Baileys Court Road and Ellan Hay Road.
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