BT Promise to Ewhurst

It is somewhat encouraging to find the possibility of further improvement for the Ewhurst outliers, along with other long lines in Surrey, made in a newly published commitment from SCC. However, the same Superfast Surrey FAQ response states that the contractual 94% at 15+ Mbps only applies to “our programme deployment area” (also known as “intervention areas”), and not the “commercial roll-out” areas like Ewhurst, as was previously implied in private conversations. If accurate, this suggests that BT have no “defined speed” coverage commitments at all for the commercial areas, in this (or any other) contract, making the “99.7% access” headline claims even more misleading. This again underlines the importance of publishing the exact text of the relevant contract terms, but all our attempts to achieve this are still being blocked, even though both SCC and BT are claiming at meetings that “this information is already available”.

However, at least Ewhurst does now have this specific assurance from BT’s managing director of Next Generation Access, Bill Murphy, from this BBC interview:

BT admits that the upgrade in Ewhurst took “longer than it should” and that “there is still work to do”.

“There are about 5% of people in the village who can’t get the service but we are working on solutions to fix this.” said Mr Murphy.

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5 Responses to BT Promise to Ewhurst

  1. Walter says:

    I cannot see any defined promise nor any suggestion as to how BT are working on a solution. This is seriously exacerbated by BTs demonstrated intransigence to run even a 20 pr cable up Peaslake Road now using the poles recently installed for the Duke of Kent school’s private fibre.

    Instead of quoting undefined percentages perhaps we can remind Mr Murphy of our findings:-

    The conclusion for Ewhurst is that an estimated 226 households are at such
    a distance that they will not be able to access greater than 24Mbps, the
    Government defined superfast minimum. This total of 226 equates to
    approximately 24% of premises (942) in Ewhurst. Further, this is 63% of
    the likely installed capacity (356) for superfast broadband in cabinets 18, 19
    and 20. An even higher percentage cannot achieve the European
    Community requirement of 30Mbps.

    Of the 226 households, it is estimated there are 69 premises, including a
    number with multiple occupancies, where BT’s Fibre-To-The-Cabinet
    infrastructure is incapable of providing any service at all. 34 of the 69 are
    connected to cabinet 6, which provides telephone lines to Ewhurst premises
    but from which no household can access a broadband service via the new
    fibre connection to the cabinet, probably due to cable quality and length.

    The figure of 34 should now be amended to 33 and the total from 69 down to 68 as we have recently commissioned the only VDSL service near the brook in Barhatch Lane. As usual this installation was completed by a subcontract engineer who doesn’t carry any test equipment so we are unaware if there is a known performance issue that could be rectified. Suffice it to say the new VDSL service has a sync speed of 5.57 Mbps whereas before on an ADSL service a 2Wire 2700 HGV modem had a sync speed of 7712 Kbps. (I.e. substantially faster).

  2. David Nye says:

    Hi Walter, Regarding your valiant efforts to get BT to run a 20 pair cable up Peaslake Road, is this what you and Alan are referring to in this recent Surrey Ad article? It’s a great shame that the author has made so many basic errors and omissions that the story really does not make much sense.

  3. Walter says:

    Here is the letter I sent to the Surrey Ad the following week, which was published unmodified, except the web links were omitted (as is frequently the case):-

    Dear Sirs,

    Re your article in your Cranleigh edition of 27 Sept 2013, it is necessary to correct the major points explained below.

    Attempts to get BT to shorten the telephone line route has been going on since 2008, not since last October. In May 2008 BT claimed they were constrained by not being able to erect poles in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and as a result the cost would be £85,000. BT have now installed poles along precisely the same route to provide a private high capacity fibre connection to the Duke of Kent School yet refuse to include a telephone cable to significantly improve very poor broadband services to approximately 20 premises along the route.

    Regarding the three Ewhurst cabinets, these were commissioned with Fibre for VDSL broadband in October 2012. All have subsequently reached installed capacity several times before more was installed. The latest cabinet 20 unavailability started around 18 July 2013 and has been postponed three times now to 23 October 2013. However yesterday the cabinet in now probably available again see:-
    http://www.ewhurst-broadband.org.uk/?p=2283&cpage=1#comment-804

    More generally, having taken an interest in the SCC Superfast Broadband project, it must be frustrating for local residents in other villages to have promised dates on the SuperfastSurrey website of September 2013 only to find that the online BT checker gives later dates with some cabinets missing altogether, and some as far away as March 2014. Chaos seemingly abounds !

    Regards

    Walter G M Willcox

  4. David Nye says:

    One BDUK BT contract has finally been obtained following FOI application, having been “heavily redacted”. Read more at ISPreview and blog at br0kent3l3ph0n3.

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