Anyone else suffering from superslow broadband?

Posted on 19th February 2018 | in News

BT phone cabinet at Coquet Grange

Amble homeowner Carl Donaldson contacted us with a complaint about poor broadband connectivity at the new Persimmon housing development. Other people have also told us they too have poor broadband connectivity issues in Amble and Hauxley. What’s your experience?

I’ve an interesting issue regarding Broadband at Coquet Grange. Basically Persimmon didn’t purchase a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) street cabinet back when the site started.

Openreach won’t upgrade us as the development is still a commercial interest. Persimmon won’t upgrade us to a modern fibre cabinet. Therefore all residents share the single ADSL cabinet and as the site grows then the service is deteriorating.

Nobody from Openreach or Persimmon is interested in listening to the residents. At times you can’t run iplayer on the TV.

I spoke with the Gazette who told me that a similar issue at Alnwick was resolved with Councillors pressuring developers and Openreach, but I’m not sure where is the best place to start with that. We were told there was broadband when we purchased, but like many others there we expected that to be FTTC Superfast, which it isn’t.

Carl Donaldson

The Ambler contacted Nathan Fuller, Support Officer for Northumberland County Council‘s iNorthumberland service, who gave us this reply:

Unfortunately Persimmon is not prepared to fund the upgrade to fibre. In the Alnwick example Taylor Wimpey agreed with Openreach to fund the costs of upgrading. We have similar examples in Morpeth with Taylor Wimpey and Bellway doing the same.

At present there is nothing we can do with public funds to address the issue, if Persimmon is unwilling to pay the only other option I can think of is for residents to look at paying. I don’t know the costs of this cabinet, but we have others in a similar situation which have been quoted under £10,000 for an upgrade. I know this isn’t ideal but you will see from that this is an issue across the country.

I did raise this issue with an alternative supplier (Alncom, based in Alnwick) who may be interested in offering a superfast wireless service to the estate if there is sufficient demand from residents.

We did put up signs last year next to the site encouraging people to check fibre availability before buying in the hope that enough queries or loss of sales would encourage the developer to agree to offer the service, but there is nothing we can do formally.

I appreciate this isn’t the answer you were probably hoping for, but we are happy to try and help where possible.

Nathan Fuller
Project Support Officer ,Information Services


Editor’s note: we got Carl Donaldson’s name wrong in the print version of this article. We apologise for any confusion.

One thought on "Anyone else suffering from superslow broadband?"

  1. Reginald Bond says:

    I have lived on the Persimmons site since 2016 and have had very poor internet services since living here.
    I moved to Amble from North Yorkshire and did our research and found that Amble did have Fibre Broadband and thought we would have no problems. First problem I found was that my house might be ready to move into, but found out we where not even connected to any terminal through BT the provider. NO line connection at all.BT did compensate me for the very poor service but found that I had no super broadband connection and was being put on there basic broadband package, although I had paid BT to transfer my old package from Yorkshire to Amble which was the super broadband package, more money in other words.

    I then spoke to Persimmons who gave me this answer :- Please see the reply from the Technical department.

    I would suspect that at the time of our enquiry BT did not have fibre in the area, or were going to charge a significant amount of money to do so. BT currently offer fibre free of charge but only when they have the necessary apparatus in the vicinity of any new developments, otherwise they offer copper. It has only been in the last month where the Persimmon Group Office has given a company directive to accept BT fibre, under a national agreement, but only under the terms of the agreement.
    Changing from copper to fibre on occupied properties at this stage is not viable as it sets a president across the current and historic sites, served by copper. There are also implications on the properties internal wiring and boxes which would need to be upgraded to suit fibre. The resident can contact BT direct, to see if they are prepared to offer an alternative solution.

    I responded that this is reasoning is purely based on cost and should have been written by there Finance Department not by there technical department.

    I had written to I Northumberland earlier that month and received the following answer :-

    It is the responsibility of the developer when planning a new development to ensure that a fibre infrastructure is installed prior to build. BT provide a service to developers whereby they will install fibre, free of charge on all new builds of 30 houses and above. All developers, including Persimmon, are well aware of this service from BT. Unfortunately, many developers do not see this essential utility as a priority and continue to build houses with copper telephone lines.
    This is a very important issue for us and we continue to look for ways to encourage developers to install fibre. We have had discussions with our planning department and have suggested that planning applications which do not include fibre are rejected but this is not possible at present. However, all developers receive a pack from planning which includes details regarding the service from BT.
    We have discussed the installation of fibre into the houses about to be built in Amble. Unfortunately the installation of fibre is not a priority to Persimmon. Despite our best efforts they continue to plan to build new houses in Amble, and other areas in Northumberland, with only copper telephone lines and no fibre infrastructure.
    We are continuing to work with BT to encourage developers to take advantage of the service BT provides. This, of course, does not help the new developments in Amble as there are no plans for fibre to be installed there at present. However, it is not too late for Persimmon to pay for fibre to be installed on this development. May I suggest that you, along with other new residents, complain to Persimmon about the lack of fibre on this development.

    I have spoken to the conservative MP for this area who was made aware of the appalling broadband provision here on this Persimmons site back in 2016, when she visited the site before the local elections.
    However since then we are aware that permission to build several Housing projects in Amble have been granted by the Northumberland Council , in which the Council yet again have put no stipulations on providing services like fibre broadband.

    At this point I came to a standstill as I could not get any further forward with any of the above parties and feel it is not our responsibility as home purchases to pay extra money for what should now in 2018 be a basic provision when building new homes.
    If local councilors can bring pressure to bare on other house builders in the local area why cant they do it here in Amble?

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