Popularity leads to broadband hold-up

Broadband provision is still patchy in some of the more rural areas of Northumberland.
Broadband provision is still patchy in some of the more rural areas of Northumberland.

Residents of one village in north Northumberland have a strange issue affecting their superfast-broadband access – it’s too popular.

On the one hand, it may seem good news that the response to the taxpayer-subsidised rollout of fibre broadband is so strong and it may slightly appease those that don’t have it yet that it’s proving so popular elsewhere.

But for some of the residents of Longhoughton, it’s proving to be frustrating with the promise of superfast broadband just out of their reach for now.

Resident Sean Butler said: “Since last October, we noticed the signage go up on the green exchange boxes in the village, ‘Superfast broadband has arrived’.

“I have tried to get this ever since to no avail, as superfast broadband isn’t available.

“They actually advertise superfast broadband is available in Longhoughton and you may enter your postcode and phone number to be told, ‘yes, and here are all the packages to compare’, but if you try to purchase a package off anyone, you’re told it isn’t available.

“No one can tell you when it will be available. I have registered my interest with BT, but that is as good as it gets.”

A BT spokeswoman confirmed that the issue is one of capacity.

There are three fibre cabinets serving Longhoughton; two are up and running and taking orders, while third is also up and running, but demand (orders placed) on that cabinet has been ‘off the scale’.

It is now at full capacity, meaning there is no more space left to connect new customers to the technology.

Now, a BT spokeswoman has said that the extra capacity will be up and running and ready for more orders this week. The cable was completed as of last week, with work to the cabinet outstanding.

Mr Butler said that he couldn’t believe that they couldn’t get the capacity right the first time in a small village, but has been been told that systems are now in place to prevent this happening with other cabinets in Northumberland – including higher capacity in the first place as well as earlier warning of capacity being reached to ensure work is undertaken before that happens.

To find out which areas are live, visitwww.inorthumberland.org.uk