Saturday, May 26, 2012

Broadband services in the West End


Many constituents in the western part of the West End Ward get their telephone and broadband services from the telephone exchange at Invergowrie.   

A constituent recently wrote to me to say that various Broadband providers fail to give the best deals to people served by the Invergowrie exchange.    To quote my constituent:

"For example, Plusnet for broadband and calls would cost me £12.99/month but someone with an upgraded telephone exchange would pay £6.49.    Sky would be £7.50 for unlimited broadband and telephone calls, but a Sky customer with the Invergowrie exchange would be £17.   AOL is £10.20 for people with an updated telephone exchange, but I pay £19.99.

As you can imagine, I would really like to save money with a cheaper deal but have no idea when the exchange will be updated.  I have spoken to other people in the West End of Dundee and they are also financially disadvantaged by having to use this outdated exchange.  We don't have cable either so can't use companies like Virgin."

I took up this matter with BT, who own the exchange and their response is below.    I hope therefore that Broadband service providers will, in future, request installation of their equipment at the exchange to improve the commercial offering to people served by the exchange at Invergowrie:

"Dear Councillor Macpherson,

I'm replying to your letter of 15 May on behalf of your constituents who are served by the telephone exchange in Invergowrie near to the City of Dundee.

I’m unsure where your constituents have got the information from that Invergowrie exchange is outdated. That’s not so. It provides all the modern features to phone users and broadband services to residents and businesses in the area. It’s true that ADSL broadband technology is distance-based, but the individual user will get the best possible speed their line will support.  

When you mention that your constituents are unable to take advantage of less expensive broadband/telephone offers, I think you are referring to bundled packages – which include phone/broadband/TV - that are offered by companies.

Let me say that the UK is recognised as having one of the most competitive communications markets in the world.   A process known as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) enables Communications Providers (CPs) to connect directly to the consumer via BT's copper local loops and then add their own equipment to offer broadband and other services.

CPs can request a LLU upgrade at any BT exchange in the UK to offer their services.   I can report that we have not had any requests from CPs to install their own broadband equipment at the Invergowrie exchange.   As you will appreciate, BT is not in a position to comment on what future plans a particular CP may have to offer LLU services at a particular exchange.   It’s entirely up them to make that decision.    In this case, as the exchange is small, CPs may perceive that it’s not commercially viable for them to invest.   The only advice I can give is that your constituents involved here talk to their CP and ask them about their commercial plans."