Broadband plight raised in debate

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Angus MP Mike Weir raised the plight of Guthrie based business Angus Horticulture Limited and their difficulties with obtaining a reliable broadband service, in a debate in the House of Commons .

Speaking in the debate Mr Weir said that BT “cares little for the effects on business of its complete incompetence in dealing speedily with repairs” and called for action to ensure that a reliable broadband service was provided in all rural areas.

In the debate, Mr Weir set out the difficulties the firm had faced going back to June of last year. The company had first of all tried to deal with the matter through the management of BT to no avail before contacting his office and continued that by the beginning of August things had not improved.

Mr Weir commented: “Openreach had by this time acknowledged an entitlement to compensation but the company was in the surreal position of being told that nothing could be done until service had been restored. One could have forgiven him for thinking he had strayed into a Kafka novel or a Monty Python sketch.

“The delay in effecting repairs, despite the involvement of cohorts of BT and Openreach staff and engineers, was apparently down to the fat that the problem required traffic management. By early August that had taken ten weeks to organise, during the course of which BT had apparently lost the form, which caused huge delays. It appeared to be beyond the wit of BT Openreach to get engineers and traffic management in place simultaneously.”

When the fault was finally fixed, the service broke down again within weeks and the firm continues to have difficulties with it.

Commenting after the debate Mr Weir said every MP who spoke had a similar story of the inability of BT to deal with serious problems affecting local businesses. He continued: “In the modern world Broadband is an essential tool for business, especially in rural areas. A huge amount of public money has been invested in broadband but BT Openreach, who are a virtual private monopoly in many areas, seem incapable of delivering. It is high time that government took action to ensure that they did so.”

An Openreach spokesman said: “We’re sorry that it took longer than usual to repair the fault. Complex and painstaking underground engineering work, including the need for temporary traffic lights in multiple locations, each of which required its own traffic survey for health and safety reasons, delayed the repair. During this time, incoming calls were diverted to a company mobile so that no calls were missed. A recurring fault was then traced to their switchboard, and the issue was fixed by replacing the switch motherboard and associated equipment.”