Broadband delay fury

ANGRY villagers have hit out at a telecommunications giant over delays in getting high-speed broadband.

People living in Elwick village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, are up in arms after discovering BT plans to install high-speed broadband in the village are on hold.

They claim that is despite promises made to them by a BT official 18-months ago that it would be in place last year.

Officials from BT have confirmed plans are on hold but say it is down to trouble finding a suitable location for a new fibre cabinet and not because of damage to the network or lack of funding.

Elwick and surrounding rural areas have access to broadband but that is said to be slow and in some places unobtainable, which they say makes life difficult especially for businesses.

They say downloading music takes an age while it is almost impossible to watch a television programme.

Instead they want access to high-speed broadband, which has gone to other parts of Hartlepool.

At a meeting in Hart village in January last year, Elwick villagers said they were assured by BTs regional partnership director that they would receive high speed broadband later that year.

At first it was expected in the June, then it was pushed back to September before being pushed back every three months ever since.

Parish council members said nobody was informed of the reasons behind the delay and said they have missed out on accessing other sources of funding as a result.

Chris Banks, chairman of Elwick Parish Council, said the villagers have been left feeling very frustrated.

Mr Banks said: “We have waited patiently for 18 months because of that promise by the regional partnership director of BT. We kept testing the BT site and it kept telling us that we will get high speed broadband within the next three months, it still says that now.

“So many other funding opportunities have passed us by, because we believed in BT.

“They have left us in the dark ages.

“We are dismayed and disappointed to have been let down in this way.”

A spokesman for BT said: “Plans to take fibre broadband to Elwick are currently on hold due to the difficulties in finding a suitable location for the installation of a new fibre cabinet that would meet both engineering and highways requirements.

“The complexity of the engineering work can result in changes to the roll-out plans for cabinets.

“The decision is not because there is ‘no funding’ or because of any damage to the network.”

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