Openreach accused of dishonesty

Openreach has been accused of being dishonest after the company informed a north Wales Assembly Member that they had no plans to bring fibre Broadband to a north Wales community eighteen months after promising in a public meeting that the work would be done.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for North Wales, Llyr Gruffydd AM, has been working with Ysbyty Ifan for several years to try and ensure that the community is supplied with a broadband connection.  In November 2016 Llyr Gruffydd AM and the Community Council organised a public meeting with representatives of BT/Openreach to discuss the connection problems in the village. BT/Openreach promised that the issue would be resolved by the Spring of 2017. However eighteen months later, in response to a letter from Mr Gruffydd, Openreach said, “Ysbyty Ifan is not in any plans for a fibre service”.

Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “This is an outrage. The firm has received millions of pounds from various Government sources to ensure that communities in Wales receive full fibre. They have promised the people of Ysbyty Ifan and myself on several occasions that they will receive full fibre. And now we’re told that they have no plans for the community. This is no way to treat people.

“Broadband is an essential part of our lives, and with the closure of many services and the centralisation of others it’s becoming more and more important. Furthermore the Welsh Government also need to answer questions about their monitoring of the roll-out by Openreach, and the fact that they seem content that communities such as Ysbyty Ifan is left in a digital black hole. I will be raising this issue with the Cabinet Minister this week.”

Response from Openreach:

From: Openreach
Sent: 11 April 2018 10:53
To: Staff Cymorth Aelod Cynulliad | Assembly Member Support Staff
Subject: Openreach C4808429 Llyr Huws Gruffydd AC/AM obo residents in Ysbyty Ifan, Conwy, Wales

Dear Llyr

Thank you for your email of 28 March concerning constituents in Ysbyty Ifan.

I am very sorry to learn that despite assurances the village has still not been provided with a fibre broadband service. I appreciate that fibre broadband has huge benefits for rural areas and I can understand why the local community is anxious to have the service delivered.

I have spoken with our local fibre team and sadly, at this time, Ysbyty Ifan is not in any plans for a fibre service.

The fibre roll out in this area is being managed by the Superfast Cymru BDUK project. Plans had been drafted to provide a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service to the village. This was being undertaken using funds from Superfast Cymru.

However, since the first phase of the Superfast Cymru project ended on 31 December 2017, any structures that were in the scope of the programme or not finished when it ended are not currently being worked on.

I’m really sorry that it wasn’t possible to provide a FTTP service to the community under this phase. We’ve connected far more homes and businesses than was ever envisaged under the contract with the Welsh Government (WG), and connecting the remaining premises in Wales is going to need more time and further investment.

We’ve gone as far as we can and are keen to finish the job by upgrading the remaining not-spots across the country. The WG has announced the next phase to extend fast, reliable broadband further and they’re searching for a delivery partner now, with the contract expected to be awarded by this summer to install the network on their behalf.  So, the remaining FTTP work in this area will need to be considered as part of the new phase.

The UK Government has also outlined plans to introduce a universal minimum speed broadband service and there are schemes like our Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme for those people that aren’t prepared to wait. Grants are available from WG that can help fund such schemes.

My advice to local residents is to keep an eye on our website below:

https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-broadband/when-can-i-get-fibre

As and when we’ve any updates, they’ll be published here.

I am genuinely sorry that I can’t offer an immediate solution for residents, but I hope my response explains why superfast broadband isn’t available to them just yet.  Through our commercial programme and partnerships with devolved governments/councils and communities, we’re trying to bring the service to as many remaining homes and businesses as we can.

Many thanks

Directors Service Office BVL61

DSO & Customer Resolution

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