This is an update on the broadband issues over half of our members kindly let me know about. I appreciate many have satisfactory service but forgive me for writing to you all. With so many working from home, and planning on continuing to do so at least part of the working week in the future, a better broadband speed is so important.
During lockdown, BT advertising tips on how to work from home have been on the radio. However, they do not listen to private individual complaints about the dreadful service. They are completely ignoring pleas to give our part of SE21 a decent broadband speed we could actually use for zoom meetings and skype, instead of buffering or, in one reported comment, a commission lost because the broadband went down. It is Openreach you have to talk to once a form requesting faster broadband is filled in, but there is no way to actually speak to anyone.
On 30 May I had a quite long exchange with the “helpers” on the BT and Openreach twitter accounts. It is annoying that on the SE21 7BJ Ofcom broadband coverage map, brown shading is surrounded by acres of green. That is the few houses in SE21 versus everywhere else in the area. You can see this yourself by looking at this:
and typing in your postcode. The twitter helpers could not explain why the cabinet dealing with our service has not been upgraded. Everywhere else in the district has been, according to an Openreach engineer who helped me with my loss of service, by Facetime and me doing the work. There were early discussions with Openreach about this area but they seem to have not reached any conclusions. The difficulty in getting any real advice about our actual cabinet being upgraded is nigh impossible.
The suggestion we might contribute towards the cost via a community fibre partnership has been ignored. Can I draw your attention to the following:
Being told there are no plans at present to supply our small area with faster broadband and basically finding out areas in the north of the Borough need it more (see below) is extremely frustrating – everyone needs it!!! A friend in Turney Road, .3 of a mile or .4 kms walking between our homes, even less as the crow flies, has a BT download speed of 76 mbps and mine at the time we spoke was .91.
Most importantly, many of us are paying between £25 and £60 a month for a broadband service which is not adequate.
Because businesses are not part of the RA, I am unable to be sure what service they use – Virgin Media, Sky, BT or other, however I am pretty certain they do not have good speeds in many of them, as they are in part of the brown shading.
Apparently Southwark Officers have been having conversations with Openreach about rolling out a service to the borough. Openreach is going to treat Southwark as a priority, but only in the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe areas, with a density of population larger than ours. Our councillor Richard Leemimg, wrote to tell me that (in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey) ” the existing broadband does not meet the government’s minimum standard of ‘decent’ broadband (around 11 Mbps)” in that area. (Would that many of our members of the RA could reach that speed.) It sounds as if New Cross will be next to get an improved service. In fact if the Ofcom broadband coverage map is studied I would feel our area is equally in need – although there may of course be an argument for older Rotherhithe district broadband improvement. All the new developments following the river bend seem to have plenty of speed options that we do not in our little broadband desert. I would urge you to look at the map and scroll round to look at broadband speed availability in Brixton, West Dulwich, West Norwood, Norbury, Streatham, Stockwell, Brockley, Nunhead, East Dulwich, Sydenham, Gipsy Hill and Streatham. Then compare our small area that for some reason the Openreach powers that be want to ignore.
Richard also goes on to say “However in order to concentrate the minds of the various providers the council is going to launch a ‘heat map’ asking people to register their connectivity issues. This will be similar to the transport maps we have been using in response to the COVID-19 transport issues in recent weeks and will be live by the end of July. This will enable us to demonstrate demand to the various broadband providers so they can make more informed investment decisions.” When you are invited to take part in this, please do so as it will help our case for improvement.
One of the many engineers who came to sort out my service told me that we should report the local issue to Ofcom. The following is the link:
Councillor Leeming is copied in, and I would like to thank him for his help. Sue Badman of the Dulwich Society is also copied in.
I attach the survey conclusions. There is a bit of shorthand but if you have trouble following it just email me. The only facts missing are the comments which are in the main pretty disgusted with the service we receive. I am happy to take this forward and try to have constructive talks about registering our interest in a partnership, but would please ask you to let me know if you would wish to join – the application has to be more specific than a few people saying maybe to me.