RESIDENTS of George Ward Gardens have criticised the failure to install ‘fast’ fibre broadband in the new estate, leaving them with a ‘slow and sluggish’ service.
According to residents, a ‘mix-up’ between housing developers Persimmon Homes and broadband providers Openreach during construction of the housing estate, resulted in the installation of ADSL broadband – a connection provided over home telephone lines.
Residents report that homes in George Ward Gardens currently have a ‘maximum’ internet speed of 8 megabits per second (Mbps). According to Ofcom this is below the speed currently needed to meet an average household’s digital needs, which they say should be at least 10Mbps.
Residents were recently told by Openreach that plans to upgrade the service to the estate to a ‘faster’ fibre broadband connection have been cancelled due to ‘unforeseen engineering issues’. However, following questions by Melksham News, Openreach has confirmed that the majority of homes at George Ward Gardens will ‘soon be able to order ultrafast broadband’.
One resident told Melksham News, “I live with my wife and no kids and we struggle to download a film (which takes hours) and do anything else online. When family come to stay it’s a standing joke on how bad the broadband is here. How large families cope every day I don’t know. In this day and age fibre should be the only broadband installed, especially in a brand new house.”
Another resident added, “We need decent broadband – what we have is basic and slow. We struggle to watch television as we have to use the internet to watch it; we don’t have a TV aerial. And it’s impossible to work from home.
“Homes were sold to us as being suitable for young professionals, but what we have is sluggish. An adequate infrastructure should have been in place before people moved in.
“To improve the service they will have to dig up the roads again – this could have all been done when construction of the estate was taking place!”
A spokesman from Persimmon Homes Wessex, said, “We are aware that some residents are experiencing problems with their broadband. We have liaised with Openreach who have confirmed they are going to take the necessary actions to improve the service they provide homeowners at George Ward Gardens.”
Melksham News asked Persimmon Homes why they did not have fibre broadband installed during construction of the housing development, but Persimmon said it would ‘not be making a further statement’.
An Openreach spokesperson told Melksham News, “This site was registered with us in 2015 when full fibre broadband wasn’t commonly purchased by developers.
“In recent years we’ve been calling on the government to make ‘full fibre’ broadband a legal requirement for all new builds but, as of today, it’s still up to developers to decide which type of broadband infrastructure they want us to deliver to their site.
“Today we build our full fibre network for free to all sites with 30 or more homes, and at competitive rates for smaller developments.
“We can confirm that all 273 homes at George Ward Gardens will soon be able to order ultrafast broadband from a host of retail ISPs who use our network. We’re also building faster, more reliable and future proof ‘full fibre’ connectivity to all of the single dwelling units on the estate and that work should be completed by the end of this year.
“We’d welcome an opportunity to discuss the options available to other areas of the estate which aren’t currently part of our upgrade plans.”