Lancaster residents call for faster broadband in their homes

One of the convenors of the residents' action group, Alan Bean, at the cabinet.
One of the convenors of the residents' action group, Alan Bean, at the cabinet.
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A Lancaster resident says his parents living in an Indian village have better broadband than he can get in Lancaster.

Shyam Kumar is among residents on the Highgrove estate, off Ashton Road, who have sent a petition to the Secretary of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, in a bid to have their broadband upgraded.

The petition has been signed by 71 households, representing around 250 computer users, many of whom use the internet for work.

Orthopaedic consultant Mr Kumar said: “Quite a lot of places in Lancaster have been covered with high speed broadband but they seem to have bypassed Highgrove.

“There are hundreds of houses here that are completely devoid of the high speed facility.

“People use their internet for work. A lot of people here work at home and families are also affected.

“You cannot download anything because it is so slow, which makes work difficult for a lot of people.

“My parents live in a village in India and they have high speed broadband, yet I am having to campaign for it here.”

Around 170 households are affected around Caspian Way, Lindbergh Avenue, Highgrove Road and Alderman Road.

Residents have been told there may be an issue with the BT cabinet in Caspian Way, although this has not been confirmed.

County Coun Gina Dowding said: “Highgrove is close to town and it’s a densely populated area. BT need to explain why there is a delay when all the surrounding areas have been covered.”

Lancaster MP Cat Smith has also taken up the issue on the residents’ behalf.

A spokesman for BT Openreach, the local network business, said: “These are houses in Lancaster in an area that can only be connected by commercial companies.

“As such it does not qualify for publically funded programmes such as Superfast Lancashire. We are presently reviewing the case for this part of Lancaster to see if it commercially viable to put in the service and should have a decision shortly.

“In the meantime, and in no way pre-empting this review, it important to note that the BT CEO this week has pledged to do everything we can to help harder to reach communities across the UK.”

People not reached by existing broadband rollouts can go to a new Openreach website at www.openreach.co.uk/communityfibre.