Wifi woes go on for quay homes

Homeowners in Lancaster have waited nine months to be connected.
Homeowners in Lancaster have waited nine months to be connected.

Homeowners on a new housing development in Lancaster have waited up to nine months for telephone and internet connections in their properties.

Residents on the Barratts estate off St George’s Quay have been fighting line provider BT Openreach to connect their homes since they moved in last June.

While some have now started to receive the service, others are still frustrated at the lack of support they have received.

Chris Lowerson said his line was finally connected in January following months of dispute.

He said: “Firt we were told that a sub-contractor had cut through the main fibre cable when it had only been laid for a week.

“Then a few weeks later there was a gas leak on the quay, and it seeped into some of our houses because the fibre cables running in the same lines hadn’t been sealed properly.

“It was one thing after another and we had no proper communication from anyone involved. I know some people only got connected very recently.”

Jo Wilkinson moved into Africa Drive on the new estate last June, and is still waiting for her line to be connected.

She said: “All we get are automated emails from Openreach – you cannot actually speak to anyone.

“They came just before Christmas and fitted a unit in the house and then in the new year they came back to connect it to the cables, and they said they were hopeful that it was being sorted out, but nothing else happened.

“We were then told there was an issue and they didn’t know how long it would take.

“This week we have been told that a serial number for our unit had been inputted incorrectly, but we still have nothing working.

“It has cost us a fortune using internet data on our mobiles.

“I work in online shopping so to not be able to do any work from home has had a real impact on my work.”

New Ofcom rules brought in last July require the majority of phone and broadband faults to be repaired within two working days, while most customers requiring a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days, otherwise providers face sanctions, which can include fines.

A BT spokesman, speaking on behalf of Openreach, the local network business, said: “Many of the residents on this Lancaster development are now connected.

“It is very regrettable that there have been delays but we are working hard to reach everyone.

“The installation of this type of network is quite complex so people waiting for services should keep in contact with their communications providers who will be able to tell them the latest information.

“We are also completely revamping the way we plan fibre broadband for new home sites so that the local authorities, home developers, other communications providers and Openreach can manage the planning of these large projects more efficiently.”