Man Living In Rural Lake District Quoted £500,000 For 'Affordable' Broadband
David Roberts said that he only wanted to take the UK government up on their proposition of good broadband for everyone in the country, but was then left 'laughing out loud' when he was quoted half a million quid for it.
He lives up in a hamlet in the Lake District, and as such his internet ain't great. To be fair, that won't be much of a surprise to anyone who has been to the Lakes before.
David claims that he struggles to get web pages to load, and having a Netflix account or a Zoom call is not easy, either.
That can't have been fantastic when the whole of the world - pretty much - was in complete lockdown.
The internet cables in Isel - near to Cockermouth - are copper, and mean that his connection speed is 0.9 megabytes per second, hugely below the UK's average of 64.
So, when the government announced their 'Universal Service Obligation', offering all members of the public a right to 'decent and affordable' broadband, he leapt at the chance.
The scheme means that people can be given up to £3,400 as a government contribution to the installation of decent internet infrastructure.
That £3,400 doesn't go a great deal of distance to covering the £502,586.40 that he was reportedly quoted by BT.
The 65-year-old said: "I laughed out loud when I saw the quote. It is just ridiculous. Nobody is going to pay that.
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"The annoying thing is that the village next to us, Blindcrake, just one and a half miles away, had BT fibre broadband installed two years ago completely free of charge.
"This is a real problem for us here, it is not just a case of wanting to be able to watch old movies on TV, but having the real need to be connected."
He added: "With fibre-optic broadband, rural areas are being left out in the cold.
"The government's scheme clearly isn't working.
"Local people don't have that kind of money to splurge on broadband.
"Nobody has explained to me why Openreach quoted me a figure of £380,000 to supply 29 properties with broadband and yet when it was a quote to supply just me the figure came out as just over £500,000."
A spokesperson for BT said: "We're sorry for the disappointment the quote has caused Mr Roberts.
"His property is several kilometres away from our nearest usable network, which means significant civil engineering, build and cabling work is needed to provide a connection.
"Mr Roberts could reduce the cost by exploring other opportunities such as joining up with other homes nearby and seeing if a Community Fibre Partnership is viable - they could also use Government vouchers for this to further reduce the cost.
"95% of UK homes already have access to Superfast Broadband of 30 Mbps and above and we're working closely with Government to find other solutions for the very hardest to reach."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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