BT quotes pensioner over £150,000 to install broadband

Image caption,
BT sent Beverley McCartney a quote for broadband connection

A pensioner says BT has quoted her more than £150,000 to install broadband to her rural home.

Beverley McCartney, of Salem, near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, has wanted a broadband connection for years.

BT had previously told her it was not able to connect broadband, but sent a letter last week saying it could.

The company said in very rare cases exceptional charges are needed. It will contribute £8,000 to the costs but only if £129,613.54 plus VAT is paid.

Mrs McCartney said: "I just laughed, I thought it was ludicrous in view of their profits.

"I phoned BT and said surely this is a typing error and the girl said 'No, there's been no mistake, other people have had bills for much more than this.'"

Mrs McCartney said that BT had told her on separate occasions that there would be no charge for the connection and also that one could not be made.

Image caption,
The letter quoted a price of over £150,000 once VAT is included

She said: "Clearly the departments don't speak to each other and don't consult each other over the engineering cost.

"It's outrageous. I can only laugh otherwise I'd probably burst into tears."

Chris Orum of BT said: "There can be very rare cases where additional charges need to be applied because of an exceptional amount of work required to the network in order to provide service.

"These charges reflect the additional line plant and equipment needed to provide broadband to a particular location.

"BT is making a multi-billion pound investment in its UK network and is continuing to work with the Welsh Assembly Government to find solutions for the relatively few areas in Wales still unable to access a broadband service."

BT is working with the assembly government on the Regional Innovative Broadband Support Scheme (RIBS) to enable broadband connection in "not-spots" in more remote areas of Wales.

Mr Orum said: "We've been working on broadband 'notspots' but it requires huge amounts of engineering work.

"If it's just one individual person and it requires upgrading the network for one person, no company would cover that."

However, he said Salem, the village where Mrs McCartney lives, is not a 'not-spot'.

Mrs McCartney said: "I live three miles out of Llandeilo but there's 50 odd houses in Salem and I'm quite sure they'd like broadband too."

"I'm not on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. It's rural but not a wildnerness.

"I couldn't afford £2,000, let alone £150,000," she said.

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