Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
BT 'broke promise over broadband upgrade'
BT is under fire from all sides for failing to deliver its superfast broadband upgrade to parts of Malvern as promised.
Residents, businesses and even council economic development chiefs are in the dark over the company’s plans.
BT pledged cabinets in Malvern Wells and West Malvern would be upgraded as soon as planning consent was given.
The consent was fast-tracked by Malvern Hills District Council in September, but still nothing has happened. The telecomms firm is also accused of breaking a promise to upgrade parts of Enigma Business Park, Malvern’s largest employment site.
Tony Stephenson, managing director of the park’s Traplet Publications, said BT assured him he would be able to order the superfast service by October. He was then told it will happen before the end of the year.
However, he says a BT Openreach engineer working at the business park told him no work is planned for Malvern this year.
BT denies that is the case, saying the engineer was “mistaken” and all 19 town cabinets will be done at the same time, though no date is set.
Mr Stephenson says people are being “fobbed off” by the firm.
“Not only have we been lied to by BT, but they clearly don’t care,” he said.
“We employ a lot of people and this is starting to put their jobs at risk.
“We will consider relocating if it is not resolved.”
Simon Smith, district council economic development manager, said: “We were told the park’s cabinet was being sorted and we expect that to happen. I cannot understand why there are not contractors down there.
He urged BT to “just get on with it”.
Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin is now calling on residents to share their “internet horror stories” ahead of a planned meeting with BT chiefs.
“Maybe BT will deliver an early Christmas present for thousands who pay the same prices for a fraction of the service as those enjoyed in our major cities.”
BT spokeswoman Amy Walker said: “Openreach decided it would be better to come back [to Malvern] and complete all works in one go.
“They are in the process of confirming a date to return to Malvern and finish the job and are pushing for the earliest possible date.”
“Our regional director has continued to liaise with the council – he has definitely not been avoiding their interest.”