Friday, 6 December 2013

Superfast Broadband – can be a drawn out slow and frustrating process

I’m writing this blog post to simply to vent some frustration. I live in Wales’ third largest city, Newport and for some obscure unbelievable reason I am unable to get high speed internet. BT’s online speed check currently tells me the very best I can hope for is…

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I never get this, if it makes 1mb download speed I am very lucky.

So back in 2012 when my BT exchange was enabled I tried to get superfast fiber broadband. The BT website said it wasn’t available to me yet. That's strange I thought to myself, I spoke with BT who said my cabinet needed to upgraded and that will be done early 2013. No worries I thought, not long now I’ll just be patient. I have no documentary evidence of this conversation, so maybe I imagined it.

Then in July this year after being told by the super-fast  BT broadband checker that I still could not receive a fast broadband internet connection, I got in touch with BT again asking when I could sign up and pay them lots of money for superfast broadband. I did this via twitter and I got good service off the guys managing the twitter account, I didn’t get the answer I wanted to hear but I got told very quickly  the outcome of my request. here is an excerpt of an email I was sent:

“This cabinet is not part of the Openreach commercial rollout, it is being rolled out as part of the Welsh BDUK project, Superfast Cymru.
The cabinet is currently predicted to go live in mid to late October. Customers should go to the Welsh website for more information.
http://www.superfast-cymru.com/home.”

This was a change to what I was told initially but it was still going to happen later so I let it be. Full of hope for fast broadband come the autumn I make contact with nice people at Superfast Cymru, I waited until September to do this, who inform of the following:

“We can confirm from the deployment plans that your postcode area is within scope of the Superfast-cymru programme and cabinet X on the XXXXXXXX exchange that supplies your service will be enabled for fibre. According to the latest deployment plans the work should be completed in December 2013”

So yesterday  afternoon waiting for a SQL Server  service pack to install I though I would see if my cabinet has been enabled yet and if can get superfast broadband I’m told by the BT website that I still can’t get. I send an email and a tweet to @superfastcymru asking when I would be able to get it

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I exchange some details with the nice person on the end of @superfastcymru twitter account and I get told the following

 

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I was told the during my last round of email exchanges that the work would be complete by December. Its December today and I’m told that work hasn’t started yet but work will start at the end of December. I’m doubting work will start at the end of December…The end of December being Christmas and New Year I will be very shocked if my cabinet is upgraded during this period. Which means it has slipped again and much to my dismay I was told work will be completed by the end of summer 2014. Now I’m not a betting man but I think it safe to say I won’t getting fast internet until after my next summer holiday. Its not going to be a Christmas present anyway

I suggested that if it was end of summer 2014 it will be more than two years between my exchange getting enabled and me actually getting fast broadband. I said that I had signed up to the e-shot several times and I found it to be quite useless.

I then got this reply

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I did in fact Laugh Out Loud at this – Great I thought good for them. I know for a fact lots of people have fibre already, houses on my estate can get it if they are connected to the correct cabinet -  this is where my frustration comes in. In the photo below you will see a house with solar panels on the roof – its about 300 yards as the crow flies from my house – this street and all the streets on the other side of it can get super duper broadband. I can’t,  It is very frustrating.

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It turns out when you sign up for the e-shot – which will tell you that can in fact get fast broadband you also get signed up to a newsletter – it was the newsletter I was getting – my bad. I didn’t know they were two different things I assumed that the newsletter was in fact the e-shot. The person on the twitter account asked me for feedback on the newsletter to make it better I did some of this via twitter but I will also include it here

  • My main issue - I signed up to be told when I can get  fast broadband. I get a newsletter every month telling me all these lucky people have it already.
  • To begin with this is OK but after six months I start to feel like its never going to happen.
  • When I registered my interest in superfast broadband i don’t recall being told the difference between an e-shot and and e-newsletter. I was getting the Newsletter  which servers as  a reminder that
    • a) I don't have it,
    • b) I've told I could have it by now so the project has slipped again
  • I was just expecting to be told when I could get it – the newsletter never told me that, adding to my frustrations 
  • Every time I saw the newsletter, I was filled with hope only to be told everyone in Bedlinog (all 10 of them) have it and I don't
  • If I was interested in who has fast broadband  and who doesn't  then great, but that's not what I wanted. Every time i received the newsletter I thought it was confirming I was good to go but in-fact it meant no such thing.

So just a couple of things that could be improved. The newsletter is OK – but make it clear it is not the same thing as the e-shot. More importantly, give the people who can’t yet get superfast broadband a date when they can and let them know if that date changes – you e-shot people when its ready. Let people know when it slips. Obviously between September and now my date has changed – nobody has told me, I’ve spoken and registered with you several time over the last year. I’m waiting for December full of expectation, if you’d have told me I wouldn’t have been so upset when I found it wasn’t going to happen.

Anyway thanks for listening a bit off topic I know but I do feel better. Two years on I’ll go back to waiting  patiently for the slow  superfast broadband rollout to take place.