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Riddlesworth battles with BT broadband connection woes

Stock image of an Openreach van doing work
Stock image of an Openreach van doing work

A small business owner from Riddlesworth says the village would be willing to “dig our own trenches” for fibre optic cables, after criticising BT’s local broadband woes.

Stud Cottages resident Barney Traylor reported experiencing “severe stability issues” with their internet connections, shortly following the works at the Garboldisham Exchange between August and September this year.

Mr Traylor, who works at home as a business analyst and systems trainer, said he had been unable to reliably connect to his clients’ websites, while his partner Susan, who runs a funeral service, struggled to maintain phone calls due to problems with the mobile signal booster.

Other issues include difficulties with travel bookings, bank transfers, and document uploading and downloading.

Mr Traylor told the Diss Express: “I have contacted most residents and businesses in the Riddlesworth area and we’re all in the same boat.

“Other businesses now regularly go to Tesco to make use of their free Wi-Fi to upload documents!

“People on the other side of the street, in canal boats, in Tongan straw hut villages all have better internet than the people of Riddlesworth.”

He said after multiple complaints to BT, an Openreach engineer attended on Tuesday and the connections had improved, but he claimed the village still could not reach fast download and upload speeds like in many built-up areas, or do any form of streaming.

According to Better Broadband for Norfolk, which aims to broaden the county’s fibre network, Riddlesworth has been designated a ‘Red’ area, meaning there are no plans to bring in faster connections, although Riddlesworth Hall School has paid to have cables extended from the exchange.

Mr Traylor stated he had raised his concerns with South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss and Norfolk County Council, but had no success.

He said: “I basically want this decision overturned.

“Especially when so much work was done to provide fibre to the nearby school – why was nobody else granted access?

He suggested the village’s “only glimmer of hope” now was to also pay for BT to extend the fibre optic cables to their homes, through the Community Fibre Partnership Scheme, and explained they would dig trenches and procure armoured cables themselves to keep the costs down.

“Otherwise I think I shall be looking to move,” he added.

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