BT takes blame for wireless broadband debacle

After a week-long row, FDM Broadband has accepted BT's apology over network problems that affected high-speed Internet services in some parts of Southern England

BT has apologised for technical problems suffered by wireless operator FDM Broadband at some of its high-speed rural networks during recent months, but insisted that it has made fewer mistakes than has been claimed.

The telco admitted that the circuit ordered by FDM Broadband to connect a wireless network in the Berkshire village of Lambourn had suffered several faults, and that both this connection and a second at another Berkshire village were installed later than promised.

However, BT denies FDM's allegation that it also failed to install other circuits on time for FDM.

These circuits were vital to the FDM service -- without them, it couldn't provide wireless broadband services to local firms and residents. The Lambourn network was down for six days because of these problems, but returned to life earlier this week.

"BT apologises for delays experienced by FDM Broadband," said a BT spokesman.

"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," he added.

In response, FDM has accepted BT's apology, but insisted that there were more problems than the telco has admitted.

"FDM Broadband is gratified that a company as large as BT can admit some of its shortcomings -- specifically in Lambourn and Kintbury. We still maintain that there were delays in Kingsclere and elsewhere," said Karl Crossman, managing director of FDM Broadband.

"However, we hope we can look forward to an improved working relationship with BT. Together, BT and FDM Broadband have roles to play in helping bridge the digital divide and enabling the rural economy to benefit from wireless broadband," Crossman added.

It's just a week since FDM Broadband first hit out at BT over these problems, going as far as to file a complaint with telecommunications regulator Oftel.

This complaint is being investigated at present, but sources within BT say that neither Oftel nor Ofcom -- which will begin regulating the telecoms and broadband industries from 29 December -- have yet been in touch about it.

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