At the request of Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Ed Vaizey, has spoken directly with BT on the need to connect up more areas in Barnet to fast fibre broadband. Thanks to this intervention in the battle to upgrade broadband speeds in High Barnet, BT have given assurances on a number of problem cabinets in High Barnet.
Theresa Villiers said: “When I met Ed Vaizey earlier this month I urged him to help my campaign to expand coverage of super-fast broadband in Barnet. I warmly welcome his direct intervention with BT.”
“Getting better broadband for Barnet sometimes feels like a marathon and not a sprint but, with the prospect of connecting up several of the crucial High Barnet telecoms cabinets within the next few months, at last there seems to be some real progress. We now have expected completion dates for work on four of the six cabinets BT have included in their current round of fibre upgrades. Work is underway to try to progress the other two, but that depends on finding a suitable site for new fibre connections. I will be encouraging Barnet Council to work with BT to try to identify the sites needed.”
“I know residents continue to be frustrated by slow broadband speeds. I heard this on the doorstep only last week. I will keep up the pressure to get this problem dealt with.”
As well as pressing BT to deliver the upgrades they have announced, Theresa organised a meeting with Virgin Media and representatives from the Barnet Society, Fibre4Barnet and other local residents in her constituency office last Friday.
Virgin Media are in the process of deciding where to locate a £3bn expansion of their fibre network. The meeting provided an opportunity for Theresa and local residents to make the case for Barnet to be included in these investment plans. Post codes where residents are particularly keen for faster broadband will now be submitted to Virgin: another possible way forward on better broadband in Barnet.
The updates on each cabinet are as follows:
- Cabinets 33 and 38 – (Wood Street near the entrance to the Old Courthouse recreation ground; Manor Road near the junction of Cedar Lawn Avenue) – There are problems with upgrading on the site of the existing BT cabinets because of underground utility cables and equipment. So space is needed elsewhere – either on council or private land. BT plan to meet Barnet Council to discuss the options.
- Cabinet 39 (Wood Street near the Black Horse pub) - Upgrade expected to be completed by the end of June.
- Cabinet 40 (Bells Hill near the junction of Wood Street) - Upgrade expected to be completed by the end of June.
- Cabinet 64 (Salisbury Road near the junction of Stapylton Road) – Upgrade expected to be completed by the end of August.
- Cabinet 52 (Barnet High Street-Hadley Parade) – Upgrade expected to be completed by the end of February.
- Cabinets 34, 36 and 65 (Salisbury Road near the junction with the High Street; Bruce Road near the junction with St Albans Road) – An upgrade is not commercially viable at present but BT may be able to connect up these cabinets if residents are able to contribute to the cost.