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Broadside for £40k broadband investment

PUBLISHED: 18:10 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 08 July 2010

IT was a mammoth job that demanded 50 new telegraph poles and cost BT £40,000 - all in the name of giving a sleepy Norfolk hamlet a high-speed link to the internet.

IT was a mammoth job that demanded 50 new telegraph poles and cost BT £40,000 - all in the name of giving a sleepy Norfolk hamlet a high-speed link to the internet.

After a year of work by engineers, residents of Drymere, near Swaffham, thought all 14 homes in the hamlet would finally have a broadband connection. But more than six months on, the majority of properties are without the promised high-speed internet link.

And residents claim BT would rather “pass them from pillar to post” than tackle the problem.

Darren Wakelen, a CCTV engineer, is connected to the same telegraph pole as his next-door neighbour, Suzanne Brackpool, but he does not have access to broadband.

“It's not Suzanne's fault that she has broadband and I don't,” he said.

“Since BT completed the task in October, we haven't had one day of broadband. Why all this money and effort spent, if the job is not working?

“If I ring BT to clarify the situation they ask me to go to my internet provider. If I ring them, they advise me to report the fault to BT wholesale. BT wholesale put me through to BT. I rang BT in England and India, everywhere virtually, and they couldn't help. Last Friday, BT admitted the line was not working.

“They are just passing us from pillar to post.”

“I can understand their nightmare,” Mrs Brackpool said. “It was a real problem connecting through dialup modem and I think I had lost a lot of business before I got my broadband connection. It is just ludicrous that Darren, next door, can't get fast internet, even though he's linked up to the same pole as me.”

At one point she said she feared BT would admit defeat when she was told that they had carried out 99 jobs on installing the line.

A spokesman for BT said: “We've checked the numbers provided and everything is indicating to us that customers should be able to order broadband. We are committed to ensuring that those who want to use broadband can.”

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