Westminster Labour Councillors have called for a Public Inquiry into BT's failure to provide super fast broadband to residents in the West End, St John's Wood and elsewhere in Westminster.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour's Business and Public Realm spokesperson, said that for the growing number of people who work from home, the failure to provide super fast broadband is damaging businesses and holding back the local economy.
He gave examples of some of regular enquiries from residents in Westminster about super fast broadband and the poor service from BT Openreach.
"I live in Luxborough Street. Outside the flats there is a box marked 'fibre'. We are next door to the university and 100m from one of the busiest roads in London,yet no high speed broadband. I wrote to our MP,who contacted BT/Openreach whose response was that there are no immediate plans to install high speed broadband. "
"I am wondering if you can clarify/explain why we have such abysmal broadband in Soho? I subscribed to the ‘let me know when fibre is available in my street’ notification with BT years ago (2010 to be exact), and to date, it is still not available in the very centre of London. I suspect most of the production companies have a leased line so perhaps this is not prioritised, but seriously, the very centre of London in 2018 and my download speed is 8.1MB - my upload is not even 1MB which is apparently average for the area. It’s not a choice of supplier either as I have researched every possibility and unless we pay an absolute fortune for a leased line, it’s all the same ancient technology. I suspect my old dial-up was faster at times."
"Our block (William Court, 6 Hall Road) is an Exchange Only lines connection (because we’re too close to the exchange!). As a result we have been told that we were way at the back of the cue for fibre. Since then Virgin has created connections on Hall Road so it may have spurred BT into action. I did a quick check on the BT broadband site this morning and it still lists our block as ADSL only. In terms of BT Fibre-Aquila Street is also without fibre from BT - would it be possible to reach out to them to see if they have any plans to introduce it on our street any time soon? "
"For years we have enjoyed fast broadband as we are connected directly to The Lords Exchange on Hall Rd. Not surprisingly, I wanted to have superfast fibre not just because of the speed but also it is the only way to have Sky Q or Virgin Media. After checking many times I kept finding "we are exploring solutions".
In frustration I emailed Andy Hudson (Openreach Director Infrastructure Delivery South) who confirmed a few months ago that the cabinet was going to be stood at the end of May and that fibre would be available shortly. The website showed "in scope" so progress. I now find that it has reverted to "we are exploring solutions" which means, I believe, contact your council to try to find a way forward. I emailed Andy Hudson with my frustration but to date no reply. I live at NW8 9PE and I know that NW8 9PG, Denning Close, Grove Hall Court, William Court, Hamilton House and 8 Hall Rd have the same problem as me. I am therefore putting on my "Ever Decreasing Circles" hat on and emailing you in the hope that you might be able to confirm the situation as I know planning has to go through Westminster Council. I sincerely hope that you are able to shine some light on the matter and possibly confirm that we will be fibre connected shortly."