In case you missed it: family quoted £2,323 to upgrade to superfast broadband

Are you thinking of moving somewhere more rural? If you are, you may want to think twice about your need for superfast broadband, after a Suffolk family were told it would cost £2,323 to upgrade.

The Watson family, from the village of Lavenham in Suffolk, were quoted the fee by Zen Internet who said that they were passing on the costs of connection from the BT offshoot that handles phone and broadband connections – Openreach.

Mrs Watson decided to contact Zen after becoming frustrated with her current internet connection’s inability to cope with the household’s increasing demand. It was being used for tv and film streaming, gaming and even used to help run an IT consultancy business.

She explains:

“As soon as more than one person wants to be online, we hit trouble…Our main problems are bandwidth and reliability – our estate was built in the 1970s and the copper wires running to our house are buried underground so we tend to lose connection when it rains, plus we get ants invading the wiring.”

A spokesperson for Openreach justified the quote:

“In this case, we’d need to excavate a road and install new cabling to connect a single home. Openreach covers the first £1,000 of costs in any case like this, but the remainder is passed to the customer’s service provider.” 

A Zen spokesman said:

“It’s impossible to predict the quality of pre-existing connectivity ducts installed underground, so when they come to be refurbished or replace high excess construction charges can be generated, which place significant financial pressure on the user – as we see in this particular customer’s case 

The majority of superfast broadband connections involve fibre-optic cables being connected to local cabinets. Existing copper wires that are being used for telephone lines and tradition broadband provide the connection between the home and the local cabinets.

At present the government are rolling out super-fast broadband across the country and have set a target of making sure that 95% of households will be able to access fibre optic broadband by 2017.

A £1.7bn pot of money has been set aside to help pay for upgrades to fibre optic broadband but the handler, Openreach, are said to be targeting those areas that will benefit the most people. Therefore, those people that require a connection sooner than what Openreach can provide, like the Watson’s, will continue to face significant extra costs.

BT                                                                                                      04.08.15

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