Business faces closure over BT internet issues

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Friday 22nd July 2022 6:00 am
@AlexandraBanfi
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Jillian Hickson said they have been facing internet issues in rural Llanafan since setting up their business seven years ago (Dolau Afon )

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A Ceredigion business is facing closure after years of “sheer desperation” and ongoing internet issues with BT.

Jillian Hickson is the owner of Dolau Afon, a camping and self catered accommodation site in Llanafan, alongside her husband, Vernon Hickson.

But for the past seven years, issues with internet connection in the rural area have led to “sheer desperation, abject frustration, and downright anger” for the couple.

Jillian told the Cambrian News: “It will come to the point where we will have to close our business.”

A spokesperson for BT said they are in touch with Jillian and doing “everything [they] can to help her”.

“We live in Llanafan, a rural, mountainous, hilly, forested area of mid-west Wales at the bottom of a valley, in the Cambrian Mountains,” Jillian explained, “there is little to no mobile phone signal here and therefore we rely heavily on a good internet connection.

“Approximately 18 months ago, we were connected to fibre to the door, ultra-fast, promising 900mg. We seldom get more than 110mg. On numerous occasions since having ultra-fast installed, we have had little or no internet for more than 50 to 80 per cent of the time. For the past two weeks, since work was done locally to connect other parts of the village and area to fibre by Openreach and BT, our internet and phones have not worked for 80 percent of the time.

“The internet constantly dropping out, no phone or poor crackle and static, unable to hear what people are saying, only hearing every other word or part of a word in a sentence.

“We’re unable to conduct our business in a professional and uninterrupted manner. We are losing bookings, unable to conduct payments, unable to use internet banking. All these things are vitally essential and important to us making a living.

“When guests have no cash and the only way people can make payment for their stay is by card, what are we supposed to do when our internet isn’t working?”

BT engineers visit the premises “on a regular basis”, before stating they have fixed it. But Jillian says this is never the case and feels they are “going around in the circles”.

A BT spokesperson said: “While we’ve confirmed the broadband is working normally, with speeds of 900Mbps to the router, we’re arranging to move the router connection within the home to see if this helps to boost the wifi signal in her house.

“We’ve also recommended Ms Hickson considers a business-grade service to extend the broadband signal to her holiday properties as her current service is designed for home use.”

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