After lobbying efforts by Theresa Villiers MP, BT have agreed to visit High Barnet to meet representatives of residents and hear their concerns about poor access to fibre broadband in the ward. The meeting is due to take place in mid March. BT have also provided Theresa with further information on how they intend to use the £50m of funding they have announced to fill the gaps in provision of fibre broadband across the UK.
Theresa has campaigned for the delivery of high speed broadband in her constituency for many months, working with the constituents and local groups such as the Barnet Society, to press the case for more homes and businesses to be connected. Commenting on these latest developments, Theresa said:
“I continue to fight for better broadband for Barnet. While it is good that around 90% of premises in my constituency can now access fibre broadband, that still leaves many homes and businesses without this important service, particularly in High Barnet ward.”
“I know how fed up people are when they cannot get access to fast broadband. This is particularly frustrating for new businesses or people who work from home. I welcome the fact that BT have agreed to come to my constituency so residents can put the case to them directly for better services for High Barnet.”
“I have been in touch with Tim O'Sullivan, Director of Public Affairs at BT, a number of times over recent days, to argue the case for faster broadband. As well as agreeing to a meeting with residents, he has provided me with more information on the £50m of funding which BT announced last year for further work on delivering fibre broadband.”
“Mr O’Sullivan confirmed that this £50m programme is intended to include London suburbs like Barnet. He also assured me that seven out of the ten cabinets which the Barnet Society have highlighted as urgently needing the fibre broadband upgrade could potentially benefit from this funding. The disappointing news is BT cannot yet say when decisions will be made on which cabinets will be chosen.”
“I will keep up the pressure on this vital issue and I encourage any constituent who can’t get access to fast broadband to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org so I can take up their case with BT. At the meeting with BT, my constituents and I will challenge the judgment that certain cabinets are uneconomic to upgrade. I am also seeking guidance from BT and from my colleague the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, on what the community can do to strengthen the commercial case for individual cabinets to be connected. If we can convince BT that there are hundreds of customers who want to sign up to fast broadband in Barnet, they are more likely to include us in their next round of upgrades.”
The following ten cabinets in High Barnet have been highlighted by the Barnet Society as urgently needing a fibre broadband upgrade. According to Tim O’Sullivan, the first seven may potentially benefit from the next stage of BT’s broadband delivery, but the commercial case is weaker for the last three (Bruce Road and Salisbury Road (near the junction with the High Street)):
· Wood Street near the Black Horse Pub, Cabinet 39
· Wood Street entrance to Old Courthouse recreation ground, Cabinet 33
· High Street near Hadley Parade, Cabinet 52
· Salisbury Road near the junction of Stapylton, Road Cabinet 64
· Manor Road near the junction of Cedar Lawn Avenue, Cabinet 38
· Bells Hill near the junction of Wood Street, Cabinet 40
· Bruce Road near the junction with St Albans Road, Cabinets 36 and 65
· Salisbury Road near the junction with the High Street, Cabinet 34.