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BT quotes Shropshire man £100,000 to provide broadband

By Dominic Robertson | Ellesmere | Science & technology | Published: | Last Updated:

BT has come under fire after offering to provide improved broadband for a rural resident – only to quote him up to £100,000 for the work.

John Simister from near Ellesmere

John Simister, 72, lives in the northernmost house in Shropshire, close to the River Dee.

He has suffered with poor internet and was excited at the offer of fibre broadband, which would allow him to watch online TV, only to be quoted the “absolutely ridiculous” price needed for the work.

After being contacted by the Shropshire Star the company, which had sent out details offering to pay the first £3,400 of any work, has said it will look into the matter to “try and find a solution for Mr Simister”.

Access to quality internet has been a struggle for many of the county’s residents, particularly those in rural areas.

Mr Simister said he was astounded when the BT call handler revealed the quote. He said: “I called them and she said ‘yes, I have got your quote here and they are quoting to put in the broadband you requested – it will be between £70,000 and £100,000’.”

He added: “It is just absolutely ridiculous and the government needs to know what is going on. To me that should be the cost of putting it in for a complete town.”

Mr Simister said that he had asked the BT staff if most of the quotes were more than than £3,400, and was told yes.

He said he had just wanted to ensure they could access broadband TV.

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He said: “My whole aim is to get a speed of up to 5mbps to enable me and my wife to watch broadband TV.”

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Mr Simister added that because the mobile telephone signal in the area is also poor he has no option but to sign up for satellite TV.

He said more needed to be done to ensure people could have access to broadband and are not priced out for living in a rural location.

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A spokesman for BT said: “We’re happy to look into this further to try and find a solution for Mr Simister. We’re working hard to deliver the UK Government’s new broadband universal service legislation to help properties that don’t have access to a decent and affordable connection from us or any other provider.

“More than 99 per cent of England can now connect at speeds of 10Mbps or more and helping those few remaining properties is our focus.

“Ofcom rules mean that if a customer is eligible for this universal service support, and any upgrade work costs less than the £3,400 threshold set by government, there’s no additional costs to households.

“Costs for serving some very remote or hard to reach addresses can understandably be higher, and people may be asked to pay the excess cost in these cases.

“For people in this situation, we’d suggest another solution such as Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership, where a community can come together with other addresses and potentially access additional Government support. The universal service legislation was not designed for, and does not allow, this kind of approach.

“The new scheme is still in its infancy and we are working with Ofcom and the UK government to ensure eligible addresses know about all the options available to find a decent and affordable broadband connection.”

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