Stannington residents angry at ‘Stone Age’ internet speeds after broadband scheme delays

Richard timms from Stannington who wants to know why fibre broadband has been delayed in the village by 9 months
Richard timms from Stannington who wants to know why fibre broadband has been delayed in the village by 9 months
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Irate residents promised high-speed internet for up to three years fear they will have to wait months to be connected.

Some householders on Oldfield Road, Stannington, have been waiting since January 2012 for faster access, while others lost their fibre broadband when the publicly-funded Digital Region scheme shut down last year after failing to attract enough customers.

They have access to dial-up internet, but say it is too slow for residents to work from home or do many everyday tasks online.

Managing director Richard Timms, who works on global projects and in the electronics industry, said: “It’s embarrassing the type of industry that I’m in and I can’t work at home because I am in the Stone Age.”

Former Digital Region customers were told BT would be able to upgrade them by November 2014, which was then pushed back until June 30 this year – but now the completion date given is March 2016.

Mr Timms said: “I’m running a global project and I’ve only had three weeks this year when I’ve not had to get on a plane to go to meetings, because I can’t speak to people over the internet from home. If we had known it would take this long we would have seriously considered moving house.”

Neil Cooper, who has a firm which fits fibre optic cables, has been waiting for the upgrade since January 2012.

A cabinet was installed on the road then, but has been empty ever since.

Neil said: “BT keeps saying the time frame is slipping, but it has been slipping since 2011.

“I understand there might be problems with the power, but surely they will have known about them for at least two years now.”

It is thought about 100 homes on Oldfield Road are waiting for fibre broadband access.

BT says the cabinet upgrade was part of its commercial programme, which is subject to change.

Some people previously served by Digital Region in the area will not be served by the new cabinet when it eventually arrives.

A spokesman said it was hoped the upgrade would be completed within three, rather than nine months.

She said: “We are sorry about this further delay.

“We appreciate people have been looking forward to the faster broadband speeds this upgrade will bring.

“We are currently working on power provision for this cabinet and hope it will be up-and-running within the next three months.”