‘Broken promises’ over broadband

By Alex Jones in Technology

A BROADBAND company has come under fire from Dwyfor Meirionnydd’s MP for “broken promises” said to have cost local businesses custom.

A community in Meirionnydd which has been promised superfast broadband on at least 10 separate occasions has been told that work to roll-out the service has been delayed again, despite repeated assurances by BT Openreach.

Villagers in Rhydymain have been plagued by lapsed deadlines and guarantees which are never met, according to MP Liz Saville Roberts.

BT Openreach has blamed the “size and complexity” of the engineering project for the delays.

There are now concerns amongst the community that the lack of progress in delivering the superfast network is leaving some local businesses which rely on the tourism trade out of pocket.

Mrs Saville Roberts is now calling on BT Openreach to pull out all the stops and bring forward the roll-out, citing the current situation as “exasperating and unacceptable”.

She said: “Having been repeatedly assured that work to bring superfast broadband to Rhydymain was on track, local people are justifiably frustrated with the catalogue of broken promises that has brought the work to a standstill.

“Ultimately, it’s the public purse that’s paying BT Openreach to upgrade our national infrastructure but, in rural communities like mine, many continue to have a woeful or non-existent broadband service.

“It should be appreciated that people living in rural areas find the glacial pace at which superfast broadband is being rolled-out is aggravated by all-round poor connectivity.

“Many of my constituents are unable to access what Ofcom recognises as the speed necessary to deliver an ‘acceptable user experience’. It is evidently having a detrimental effect on local businesses in my constituency.”

Local businessman Mike Kirwin was equally frustrated.

“When Openreach’s first deadline passed without any services being available, it was disappointing. When several deadlines had come and gone, it became frustrating,” he said.

“Now that several years have passed and we’re in to double digits of lapsed deadlines - it’s difficult to take anything Openreach says seriously."

Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for BT said: “We can confirm that Rhydymain remains in scope to benefit from superfast broadband as part of the Superfast Cymru programme.”

“Due to the enormous size and complexity of this engineering project we will on occasions have to re-prioritise our roll-out schedules which has always been made clear in our correspondence with the local community and MP. Far from progressing at a glacial pace nearly eight out of every 10 properties in Dwyfor Meirionnydd can place an order for superfast broadband today.”

See this week’s north editions for the full story, in shops and online on Thursday

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