Ranulf Scarbrough (Director of Cornwall Superfast Broadband Programme) and Laurent Boon (Programme Manager for Connecting Devon and Somerset) came and met with residents list night. For notes on the meeting and how to report a fault with your line, click ‘more’ below.

Welcombe residents were left frustrated with the outcome of a meeting with BT executives last night. The only significant commitment came from Ranulf Scarbrough who will review any outstanding issues. If you have an outstanding issue or want to report issues you have had with your phone or broadband click the fault report link below.

Click here to report a Fault

Residents at the meeting voiced their frustration about the quality of service provided by BT and how inefficient and ineffective the organisation was in resolving the issues. They were left frustrated by a lack of any significant assurances on how the quality of provision in the village would be improved or plans for superfast broadband.

Residents described the issues they had faced to the BT representatives. A number of representatives from Upcott described how BT ‘fixing’ a problem simply had a domino effect causing a problem with another household. Another resident explained that he had paid over £700 over the past year for a broadband service that was practically nonexistent. He asked why BT cannot give a straight answer on whether they can provide a service or not rather than sending out engineers who are unable to resolve the problem.

It was commented on that although many aspects of BT’s service is inconsistent, it’s billing department always seems capable of taking money on time.

It was made clear to Ranulf and Laurent that residents rely heavily on the fixed phone lines due to the poor mobile coverage. Ranulf suggested that residents should lobby the mobile phone companies to improve the mobile phone coverage. He also stated that BT were world leaders in provision of services to rural communities and suggested that rural provision in the UK was better than other European countries.

While it may be worth lobbying the mobile companies to improve coverage, it does not obviate BT’s responsibility to provide an adequate service. Following that logic to its conclusion means we all end up with no service at all. In relation to world class provision, learning that a village down the road has great services has no relevance to Welcombe other than implying, comparatively, property prices here will be devalued in preference for locations with better services.

Resident’s asked what BT was prepared to compensate for the lack of service. The resident who had spent £700 had been offered £37 in compensation. It was suggested that if a supermarket sold £700 of rotten food they would have to provide a refund or be breaking the law so how can BT get away with it. Ranulf stated that he could not speak on behalf of the retail or business part of the BT organisation and suggested residents look at the complaints procedure. The following website appears to offer good advice and assistance in making a complaint to BT:

Make a complaint to BT

If you have a different service provider, click here for a information on how to complain to them.

Ranulf Scarbrough gave an interview on Broadband World in 2014 which describes the impact of superfast broadband in Cornwall. What is most interesting is the description of what superfast has provided to Cornwall and therefore what we lack. Our current second rate service impacts on local business, health, inclusion and property value.

What we learnt

New Lines

BT have installed 150 new copper lines between the Morwenstow exchange and the cabinet at Leddon Farm. In theory this provides a solution to the lack of lines in the village. But residents will only be able to access these lines if it costs under £3,400 to run a line from the cabinet to the household. It is not clear how far £3,400 will take a line in the village.

Outstanding Issues

Ranulf has committed to following up on issues residents continue to face with their phone/broadband even if BT is not the service provide. Click here to report a Fault.

Superfast Broadband

The new poles and cables that have been erected in the village are, apparently, no guarantee that we will have superfast broadband. The intention is to install it but the work done is purely to survey and test the viability of provision. The current roll out of broadband ends at the end of this year with currently no guarantee that it will continue, so we need to see a commitment from BT soon if we are to be assured of superfast broadband. There are plans to extend the roll out of broadband beyond 2016 but this seems stalled more due to the inaction of the group controlling the scheme funding rather than BT.

What next

Top priority is to ensure all residents have a functioning phone and/or broadband service. If you are still experiencing issues please complete this fault form. The Parish Council will pass all faults on to Ranulf Scarbrough and continue to monitor until resolved.

Next priority is to ensure residents who have been unable to get a telephone line now have access to one. With 150 new lines in the village it is expected that lines are available and more likely to be affordable. It you have any issues getting a new line please email us at: mail@welcombe.org.uk

Finally we want to encourage all residents to lobby effectively for superfast broadband. We are currently researching how this can be done and hope to provide an update early next week (w/c 11th January).

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