Woman feels 'deceived' over three-year fibre broadband delay

Jane Scarfe, from Shipdham, near Dereham

Jane Scarfe, from Shipdham, near Dereham, has been left angry by a lengthy delay in being given access to full-fibre broadband - Credit: Robert Scarfe

A woman has revealed her dismay at being told fibre broadband may not serve her home until 2024 - three years later than promised. 

Jane Scarfe, from Shipdham, near Dereham, was initially informed the technology - which provides faster internet speeds - would be installed in March 2021. 

Generic image of a person typing on a laptop with a mouse

Full-fibre broadband promises faster internet speeds - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

While accepting a delay was likely amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mrs Scarfe wondered in the autumn why no progress had been made. 

Having raised her concerns with Openreach, she finally received an email from the telecoms company last week - telling her plans to bring fibre to the area had been cancelled.

Openreach has since clarified said the majority of properties in the Shipdham area were "very much included" in its full-fibre plans.

But it did not give a specific time frame, adding that work was "due to get under way in the next couple of years" - potentially taking the completion date to 2024. 

Jane Scarfe has grown frustrated at the lack of clarity over full-fibre broadband installation in the Dereham area

Jane Scarfe has grown frustrated at the lack of clarity over full-fibre broadband installation in the Dereham area - Credit: Robert Scarfe

Mrs Scarfe, who moved with her husband Robert to Shipdham in the knowledge that fibre broadband was apparently on the way, admitted the whole affair had left her angry. 

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"Since we bought this house in 2020, we anticipated we would be getting it [fibre broadband]," she said.

"We took the March 2021 target with a pinch of salt and were not surprised when they missed that. But in October we wondered 'what is going on?'

"When I got the email I was disappointed, frustrated and just angry at the deceit. 

Fibre optics splicer, Joe Hambleton, working on behalf of Openreach, installs a fibre optics node ne

Openreach says full-fibre broadband has reached 500,000 homes and businesses in the East of England - Credit: Archant

"You read these stories about places in rural Norfolk getting full-fibre broadband, but I suspect Openreach is not making good on its announcements.

"The problem probably stretches a lot further than Dereham and Norfolk."

Openreach said, however, that full-fibre was being built "at pace", and that the company had reached half a million homes and businesses in the East of England. 

A spokesman added: "Our build plans are constantly being updated to reflect the latest information and to help us reach as many properties as quickly as possible.

“In Shipdham, we’re going to take a closer look at exactly what information has been shared with the customer. The majority of premises in this area are very much included in our full-fibre plans, with work due to get under way in the next couple of years."