King’s Reach residents 'furious at lack of superfast broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Last week, angry residents from the King's Reach development in Biggleswade voiced their concerns at a public meeting over the fact that superfast broadband has not been rolled out in their area.

Locals had previously received letters informing them that the service would be installed by no later than December 1st, but BT Openreach has failed to meet this deadline, according to Biggleswade Today.

Currently, residents are only able to take advantage of broadband speeds of up to 1.7Mbps, which is a far cry from the national average of 20Mbps.

Stephen Robinson, an angry local, told the website: "We basically can’t run our business from where we live because of the slow broadband speeds. Caldecote is smaller than the King’s Reach development and they have got speeds of nearly 100Mbps up there."

Around 40 residents attended the meeting, which took place on December 9th, in an attempt to put pressure on BT Openreach to roll out the service they have been promising residents since mid-November.

Bernard Rix, town councillor for Biggleswade, has been looking into the issue for the last six months. He describes broadband as the "fourth utility" and believes people now expect a decent service when they move into a home, just like they would want from water, gas and electricity suppliers.

He set up a petition, which was signed by over 200 people in a single weekend, around six months ago, and has been in contact with a developers' consortium and BT to resolve the issue to no avail.

Alun Isaacs, from the developers' consortium, said the company repeatedly gave assurances that the project was on target, but were informed towards the end of November that there would be a delay.

Many of the residents at last week's meeting described how their work was being negatively impacted as they needed to access the internet at home for their job - something that has been highlighted by other areas struggling to get a faster connection.

Last week, it was revealed that the lack of fast and reliable broadband is damaging businesses in the Essex town of Saffron Walden. Several people contacted the local paper, Cambridge News, with one claiming that it was "holding back" local firms.

King's Reach residents will now need to wait for a response from BT Openreach before scheduling a meeting.