BT's superfast broadband rollout slowed by residents' protest

07 Aug 2009 View Comments
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BT is installing fibre to the cabinet

BT is facing a hiccup in its London rollout of superfast fibre-based broadband as protests from residents in a Muswell Hill conservation area have delayed the project.

The telecoms giant is installing fibre-optic cabling to street cabinets to allow local broadband services to be boosted to as much as 40Mbit/s.

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But some residents have complained to the local council, the London Borough of Haringey, that the 1.8 metre high cabinets are obstructing the pavement.

“These cabinets are unsightly and are taller than most garden walls," John Crompton, treasurer of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, told The Times.

BT’s Openreach local network division, which is in charge of the installation, has denied reports that the rollout has been stopped, but is talking to the authority to resolve the issue.

“The pilot has not halted as claimed in some articles. The majority of cabinets have been successfully installed in Muswell Hill and customers are already enjoying superfast broadband. There is an issue with a small number of cabinets in a conservation area and Openreach is in dialogue with the council on a solution,” said a BT spokesman.

BT aims to have one million homes connected to high-speed broadband by March next year, with a further half a million live by summer. The telecoms giant is spending £1.5bn on the rollout, which plans to have 10 million homes connected by 2012 – some 40 per cent of the UK.

Muswell Hill is one of the first two locations to have access to BT fibre broadband, and started to go live last month. The other pilot of the technology is in Whitchurch, near Cardiff, and 69 more sites will be rolled out by next summer.

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