Villagers protest over £22,000 cost to install full fibre broadband to 18 'missed' homes in Bretherton

Villagers in Bretherton are protesting over an “unfair” roll-out of full fibre broadband.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 3:45 pm

Recently Openreach has been carrying out work in the area, with locals greatly excited about more secure and faster internet connections.

But when Barbara Farbon, who lives in the Flag Lane area enquired with BT what packages would now be available, it transpired that 18 homes on the south side of the village between the Blue Anchor pub and the approach to Croston, had been missed off the new connection.

Further enquiries revealed that the full fibre cables could be extended to the more rural properties, but at a cost of £22,000 to the households affected, mainly down to the cost of digging a track.

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Photo Neil Cross; Barbara and Richard Farbon with Gavin Hughes protesting against Open Reach in Bretherton
Photo Neil Cross; Barbara and Richard Farbon with Gavin Hughes protesting against Open Reach in Bretherton

Mrs Farbon said: “Half of us (missed out) have got fibre to the green box in Bretherton and the others have got fibre to the green box in Croston over a mile away. We get abominable signals, and some people are having to work from home or have children trying to do school work from home.”

In the past few days, Openreach have been digging a track to install a new phone line to a cottage in Flag Lane. Mrs Farbon says engineers told her the track would also have been suitable for installing full fibre cables to missed properties, thus removing the prohibitive cost.

She said: “When I asked Openreach about this, one department didn’t know what the other was doing, and it’s so frustrating because we’ve missed an opportunity.”

She added: “To me, it’s all about future-proofing because we rely more and more on the internet in all aspects of life.”

In August last year, it was announced that after consultation with Ofcom,Openreach had agreed to provide ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest-to-reach homes and businesses in the country by the late 2020s.

Mrs Farbon added: “Openreach have been contracted by government to ensure the rural roll out happens, yet they are expecting tax payers to pay for the ‘privilege’ that others have received as a right.”

Openreach have been contacted for a comment.