No fast broadband on Bicester garden city Kingsmere estate

Kingsmere development

Residents in one of the government's new garden cities are warning potential home buyers there is no fast broadband on their development.

Broadband speeds in Kingsmere, on the edge of Bicester, rarely exceed 2Mbps, and some homes cannot get a landline.

Residents of the 400 homes have put up posters warning potential newcomers of the issue.

Developer Countryside Properties said it had provided ducting for the cables but it was up to BT what went in them.

BT said it proposed sharing the £45,000 cost of providing fibre-optic broadband.

The development at Kingsmere is part of the 13,000 homes planned by the government to turn Bicester into one of a new generation of garden cities, announced earlier this month.

Image copyright Matt Maunder
Image caption Residents hope the posters will shame developers and BT into acting

Resident Matt Maunder said: "I'm a home worker, and I need good broadband to do my job. We've actually got residents who moved here in August who still don't have a phone line - that's just unacceptable.

"I can't carry out my job effectively, I can't take advantage of services like Skype, my family live abroad so I can't get in touch with them as easily as I would like.

"Unfortunately we have got people now saying they wish they hadn't moved here because of the way the service is and that's a real shame, particularly because it's been lauded as the latest and greatest housing development in the country."

'Copper or fibre'

BT said it had reached an agreement for 726 additional homes yet to be built and a proposal for the existing houses would be ready by 10 January.

Countryside Properties said the ducting installed at Kingsmere was based on a design agreed with BT in 2010, based on a copper network.

A spokesman said: "It is then BT/Openreach's decision as to whether they would run copper or fibre through the ducting."

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: "You wouldn't move into a brand new house in 2014/2015 and not expect to get superfast broadband. It is unacceptable."

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