Villagers’ anger at being ‘left in the dark ages’

Peter Marland is having problems with BT and he cannot get internet connection
Peter Marland is having problems with BT and he cannot get internet connection
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Villagers near Chorley say they’re being left behind after BT announced 32,000 households in the area would be getting superfast broadband.

Residents in the villages of Heapey and White Coppice have to rely on the standard dial-up connection and say they’ve been without any telephone and internet access for the past four weekends.

Peter Marland and his neighbours along Coppice Lane in White Coppice and Heapey have been fighting for six years to get better access.

Mr Marland, who lives in Ivy Cottage, said: “I know we are in a remote location but I don’t see why they cannot help people who don’t have broadband.

“Several engineers told me that BT took the decision to install a microwave dish that links Heapey and White Coppice to the Eccleston exchange rather than put new lines in.

“Unfortunately the microwave link will not support broadband so we are stuck with standard dial-up connection.

“It does not always work in adverse weather conditions, so when it rains or is windy the phone or internet does not work.

“We cannot phone to sort the problem out or even email so I am using my mobile telephone a lot instead.”

The problem was at its worst back in May 2010 when locals were without a phone line for eight weeks.

Mr Marland says he is fed up of contacting call centres to try and get the problem fixed.

He added: “There is a new estate in Kittiwake Road half a mile away and I know that they have broadband connection.

“I don’t know why they cannot just extend some phone lines to us instead of having to rely on this microwave dish to get calls.”

A spokesman for BT said: “Investment by BT has brought ‘first generation’ broadband to more than 99 per cent of the UK’s homes and businesses.

“Unfortunately the 25 residents in the Heapey area fall into the exceptional one per cent, who cannot currently get broadband because they are too far from their local exchange or for other technical reasons.

“BT is working with a number of organisations to try to find cost-effective engineering solutions to enable those people to benefit from the technology as well.

“No organisation is doing more than BT to ensure as many people as possible benefit from broadband.

“At the same time, BT is investing £2.5 billion to bring super-fast broadband to around two-thirds of the UK, but is looking to develop partnerships with other organisations to enable the final one-third of the county to benefit too, where it would not be commercially viable for BT to do so alone.”

Are you having problems in your area? Contact the Guardian on: 01257 264911.