Net boss ‘sorry’ after hundreds were cut off

Oliver Bryssau, owner of Origin Broadband, Yorkshire Way, Armthorpe. Picture: Andrew Roe
Oliver Bryssau, owner of Origin Broadband, Yorkshire Way, Armthorpe. Picture: Andrew Roe
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The boss of internet firm Origin Broadband has apologised unreservedly after hundreds of people were cut off when the Digital Region network was shut down.

Oliver Bryssau said he was sorry the company had failed to make arrangements for all 1,800 customers ahead of the closure on August 15.

But he insisted the number who lost connection was only in the “low hundreds” - although he couldn’t be specific - and everyone would be reconnected by the second week in September.

The incident sparked 2,000 calls in two days and hundreds of emails to the Doncaster company. People also complained on its Facebook page, on Twitter and in online forums - with some speculating it would finish the company.

But a bullish Mr Bryssau revealed that although 150 had cancelled, revenue had risen since the shutdown, staff numbers were set to grow from 21 to 35 by the end of the year and Origin was launching an advertising campaign targeting residential customers.

He said: “I apologise unreservedly to customers who have been without service. We are doing the best we can. Be patient while we are trying to connect you. We tried everything humanly possible to avoid this and we’ve put in extraordinary hours reconnecting people since it happened.”

Digital Region was a £100m publicly-funded fibre optic network in South Yorkshire which was shut down after it lost money.

When closure was announced last year Origin launched an ambitious multi-million plan to build its own network - which depended on help from BT’s Openreach service.

Eight months of negotiations broke down five days before the closure of Digital Region, according to Oliver Bryssau, and it wasn’t possible to transfer everyone in time.

Many were not cut off, including Doncaster Racecourse, Sheffield NHS and schools, Barnsley Council depots and secondary schools, Oliver said.

But businesses on residential contracts had been hit by disconnection - prompting some to demand compensation.

Oliver added: “We’re taking claims on a case-by-case basis and have credited some accounts.”

Origin has 4,300 customers, revenue is £4m-a-year.