Rural broadband restored but BT delays 'unacceptable'

A high-speed wireless network is back online in Berkshire after a fault on a BT line robbed local people of the service for six days. The regulators are now involved

Wireless broadband has been restored in the Berkshire village of Lambourn after a fault on a BT cable meant that services were unavailable for nearly a week.

FDM Broadband, which offers wireless broadband services to a number of villages in rural southern England, said on Tuesday that the problem had been fixed by BT on Monday night.

Last week, FDM criticised BT for a series of delays and problems that it claimed were disrupting the rollout and performance of FDM's networks.

The broadband provider uses circuits from BT to connect its wireless networks with the Internet, and Karl Crossman, managing director of FDM, claims that BT has been late in delivering these links at nearly every community served by his company.

BT took nearly two weeks longer than promised to deliver high-speed backhaul to the village of Kingsclere, was four weeks behind schedule in Hungerford, and managed a delay of six weeks in Kintbury, according to FDM. 

FDM estimates that the delay in Kintbury, which held up the launch of its wireless broadband service in the area, cost it around two-thirds of its pre-registered customers, who chose BT Wholesale's ADSL service  -- which launched in the area during the delay -- instead.

While FDM said it welcomes the return of its service in Lambourn, it is continuing with an official complaint about BT's behaviour. This complaint is currently being examined by Oftel.

"The time it took to find and fix the fault in Lambourn was really unacceptable," an FDM spokesman told ZDNet UK.

"These problems [with the links provided by BT] are happening very frequently and the reputation of wireless broadband in these areas is suffering," he added.

BT was unavailable for comment. It is investigating the issue.