BT update on broadband in Alnwick

Simon Roberson, BTs North East regional partnership director.
Simon Roberson, BTs North East regional partnership director.

A North East BT boss has told Alnwick councillors that the town’s remaining cabinets are due to be upgraded for fibre broadband this year.

At the February meeting of Alnwick Town Council, Coun Gordon Castle raised concerns that a quarter of the town still has no access to fibre broadband.

While the Government and county council-subsidised iNorthumberland scheme is focusing on the rural areas, most of Alnwick is due to be upgraded by BT as a commercial project, but as yet four of the 16 cabinets have not been done.

At this month’s meeting, Simon Roberson, BT’s North East regional partnership director, told members that all four were problematic and time ran out before the company ‘hit a big peak’ of work on the subsidised scheme, which has contractual penalties. “We didn’t take any of those decisions lightly,” he said.

However, work was due to start on one of the cabinets – near Westgate House on Clayport Street – last week and it should go live towards the end of this month. It is hoped that the other three will be completed before the end of September.

“While Northumberland County Council is not responsible, we will collaborate as closely as possible,” Mr Roberson said.

“There will be really good speeds across most of the town once those are in.”

Mr Roberson also addressed concerns that the new Willowburn Park development will not have access to fibre broadband. He explained that developers are under no obligation, but BT will install it for free on any development of 30 houses or larger.

In the case of Willowburn Park, by the time the request was made to BT, it was too late, but developer Taylor Wimpey will be receiving a quote to retrofit the technology