AM’s intervention leads to successful broadband outcome

Residents of a recently-built housing estate that had been left without adequate broadband access, have now been told the problem will be resolved following an intervention from Cynon Valley Assembly Member Vikki Howells.

The new properties in Coed Dyffryn, in Cwmbach, were due to benefit from access to a superfast broadband cabinet co-funded by BT and the property developer Persimmon.

However, the arrangement fell through to the detriment of residents, who have been searching for answers for the last four years. This includes from the UK Government, whose only response was for local people to use ‘crowdfunding’ to fund the much-needed infrastructural investment.

After Vikki Howells AM was made aware of the problem, she raised the matter with BT, Persimmon and the Welsh Government, lobbying hard for a solution that would benefit local people.

On 31 July, Openreach, the BT subsidiary dealing with online connectivity, informed the Cynon Valley AM that they had agreed to invest the capital needed to complete the work to connect the cabinet, which would mean that Coed Dyffryn residents can expect to benefit from Superfast speeds of 24Mbps or above.

In a further email from the Director of BT Wales on 1 August, Vikki Howells was told Openreach expect to have completed their work at the estate by the end of the year.

Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells said:-

“Dozens of residents of Coed Dyffryn have got in touch with me to say that lack of adequate broadband at their brand new housing estate has impacted on their ability to work, study or relax from home.

“This was made all the more frustrating due to the empty cabinet on the estate. I therefore welcome BT’s announcement that it will connect the cabinet to give residents the access they should be able to expect.

“I have also asked the Welsh Government what we can do to make sure problems like this do not occur again, and new housing estates are properly supplied with relevant infrastructural needs”.

Local resident Chris Stephens (pictured with Vikki), who initially raised the matter with Vikki Howells, said:-

“It is excellent news that an agreement with BT has finally been reached on this matter. It is a basic right to have good internet connection speeds on a brand-new estate and the level of resistance and ignorance to residents’ complaints, over the years, has been unacceptable. It is very sad that action was only taken when the issue was raised at a higher level.

“The news is welcome but we do hope that the work will be done quickly and without any further delay”.

Jeff Elliott, Councillor for Cwmbach, said:-

“Thanks to Vikki for pushing for these improvements to Broadband which will enable access and better provision for all residents of Coed Dyffryn.

“I would also like to thank her for the support she has given me and residents in working to find a solution with other matters in the area”.