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BT faces fresh complaint over late BB delivery

'Catalogue of errors, late reporting and misinformation'

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A rural broadband scheme in Norfolk has complained to the UK's new communications regulator after BT failed to supply high-speed links to a new community wireless scheme on time.

West Norfolk Community Broadband (WNCB) was due to have the new lines in place - connecting the community wireless scheme to the Net - by December 18.

Now, though, it's been told by supplier PSI Net that "due to capacity problems on [BT's] network", WNCB could have to wait until May before the connection is made.

WNCB has already lodged a formal complaint and is likely to seek compensation after being given the run-around.

Explaining the problems, WNCB's Will Newman said: "I am extremely sorry to report that despite our best efforts it is highly unlikely that the system will be on-line by Christmas. The reasons for this are entirely out of our control.

"Where the faults lie is open to interpretation, but what is clear is that we are the totally innocent party. We have ordered and paid for the installation on the correct timescale and should be receiving the service. There is a catalogue of errors, late reporting and misinformation.

"During this process we have discovered some alarming similarities to our own position, which have been endured by FDM Broadband who dealt directly with BT."

Last month, BT 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 the village of Lambourn to the Net.

It also claimed that since launching its service in Lambourn in October, BT's link has gone tits up six times, causing aggravation for the company and its customers.

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

In a statement BT said: "BT would like to apologise to West Norfolk Community Broadband for delays in delivering their private circuits to their supplier PSINet.

"Although our initial delivery date for the Hunstanton link was December 18, we later ran into problems with capacity on the network and have had to delay installation. We have promised to deliver this link by May, but we will make every effort to deliver it earlier.

A delay was caused in delivering another private circuit for Dersingham when there was a misunderstanding over whether a copper or fibre link had been ordered.

"BT recognises the urgent need for these private circuits to be provided and will make every effort to deliver them as quickly as possible," it said. ®

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