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Broadband minnow takes on BT over ‘unacceptable’ behaviour

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BT has apologised for delays that led to a Berkshire village having its wireless broadband connection cut off for almost a week.

Hungerford-based wireless broadband provider, FDM Broadband, claimed BT had failed to repair a dedicated circuit that connects Lambourn, in Berkshire, to the Net.

Frustrated at the lack of action from BT, FDM issued a statement cataloguing its concerns. Within an hour of the release being sent out the line had been repaired, said the company.

Despite this, FDM has lodged an official complaint with Oftel, which will pass to new super regulator, Ofcom, if it's not resolved by the end of the year.

The complaint also includes the charge that since FDM launched its service in Lambourn in October, BT's link has gone titsup six times, causing aggravation for the company and its customers.

And FDM alleges it has also experienced similar problems elsewhere as it has tried to bring broadband to rural areas in Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

"I find BT's slow response to this crisis in Lambourn absolutely unacceptable," said Karl Crossman, managing director of FDM Broadband.

"I have no way of assessing the validity of BT's excuses, but I do know that the users who have worked with me to bring broadband to their villages are now being denied service. Ironically, it was the community's frustration with BT's ADSL roll-out that lead them to turn to us in the first place," he said.

He went on: "In nearly every community we serve, BT has been late in delivering our link. The delay was four weeks in Hungerford, six weeks in Kintbury, and nearly two weeks in Kingsclere.

"As a result of the six-week delay in Kintbury, we lost approximately two-thirds of our pre-registered customers. These customers probably took up the ADSL broadband service, which became available in the area during the delay period.

"So far in every village that FDM has offered its service, BT has failed to supply this network link on time. As a result, FDM has lost revenue and its wireless roll-out has been constantly impeded," he said.

A BT spokesman "categorically denied that the monster telco was engaged in any dirty tricks.

He told The Register: "BT apologises for delays experienced by FDM Broadband.

"We were late in delivering a circuit in Kintbury and another one in Lambourn, which also suffered several faults.

"However, BT did deliver a circuit for Kingsclere on the contractual delivery date and three other circuits for FDM Broadband in Hungerford on time." ®

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