The battle for better broadband in Barnet continues as Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, and local campaigner, Lesley Evans, have welcomed the news that the first of the long-standing gaps in fast broadband provision in Underhill has now been filled with one of the Wood Street BT cabinets now connected up to fibre broadband.
In autumn last year, after many months of campaigning by Theresa Villiers and the Fibre4Barnet group of residents, BT announced that it was including 6 cabinets in the High Barnet / Underhill area in its next round of fibre broadband delivery. Since then, Theresa has also secured an intervention from Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, who pressed BT to make progress on delivering the upgrades they had announced. BT recently issued a progress update.
Of the four cabinets needing a fibre connection in Underhill ward, Cabinet 39, placed in Wood Street near the Black Horse pub, is now upgraded and in use.
Upgrades have been agreed for Cabinet 38 (Manor Road / Cedar Lawn Avenue), Cabinet 33 (Wood Street near the Old Courthouse Recreation Ground), and Cabinet 40 (Bells Hill). However, sites are needed for the new fibre cabinets before superfast broadband can be installed. It is hoped that Cabinet 40 will be upgraded before the end of September, with discussions continuing between BT and Barnet Council about Cabinets 38 and 33.
Theresa Villiers said “We are making real progress. Although it is disappointing that three out of the four problem cabinets in Underhill have been hit with setbacks, it should now be only a matter of logistics to ensure they are upgraded to superfast broadband. I look forward to continuing to work with BT and with Lesley Evans to ensure this happens.”
Lesley Evans, local campaigner and council candidate, said “The end is now in sight on delivery of superfast broadband for local Underhill residents. This will make a big difference to people who work from home or rely regularly on the internet. As the local council candidate I can assure residents that we are monitoring the situation and that they will be kept informed.”