Web of problems for Greenlaw’s frustrated broadband users

businesses in Greenlaw are facing up to the fact they stand to lose hundreds of pounds thanks to the village’s broadband connection going down three times in the space of little over a week.

At first owners such as Tweed Valley Organics’ John Schofield and Debbie Askew, who runs a retail business from home, assumed the problem lay with their individual systems but after hearing more and more people complaining about their broadband issues, it became apparent the issue was more widespread.

But after taking up the matter with BT on behalf of affected customers, providers such as Virgin Media, o2 and Sky were told by the network that there was no regional problem.

John was told the earliest a BT engineer was expected in Greenlaw was this Saturday but on Tuesday a spokesperson for BT said that the two customers who’d contacted them were both accessing broadband again.

They told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “There are 293 broadband users in Greenlaw. One person reported a fault on Sunday and one yesterday but both are up and running today (Tuesday).”

But just a few hours later, broadband stopped worked once more. And the loss of connection at the weekend and again on Tuesday wasn’t the first time computer users in Greenlaw had been cut off from the web.

“The problems started on Friday, July 6,” John told ‘The Berwickshire News’.

“The broadband connection, although not great here, has always been acceptable but on that day it just stopped working. I reported it to BT a few days later after there was no improvement but the connection didn’t start working properly again until last Friday, July 13.

“It went off again on Saturday night and there were a fair number of people affected.

“As well as trying to run a business and not being able to see if anyone’s placed an order I’m also doing a course on how to build websites but because of the broadband problems I can’t watch any tutorial videos or download information.

“At first BT convinced me it was my system that was at fault but on buying and installing a new home hub I found this wasn’t the case.

“It’s unacceptable in 2012 to cut off a community like this. I’d say it was an intermitent problem as at 6am today (Wednesday) my broadband wasn’t working but by 9 it was but you certainly can’t rely on it always playing ball.

“BT have said they’ll send an engineer out but because of workload they can’t guarantee when.”

Like John, Debbie said she initially assumed the problem was one to do with her system but was told by her internet provider, Virgin Media, that BT tested her line and there wasn’t a fault.

Her connection was restored on Tuesday but after losing it again after just 24 hours last week, she wasn’t overly confident it would be the end of the issue.

“It seems BT aren’t tying in the problems of internet users with other providers with those of their own customers.

“I got my internet connection back Tuesday daytime but by early evening it was back to square one.

“I’ve been really struggling; thankfully I could still retrieve emails so I had to piece together product orders by looking at emails I’d been sent and then tried to match them with entries in my bank account which wasn’t easy because I couldn’t access internet banking.

“Virgin say they’ll refund me the portion of my monthly bill which has been affected by the downtime but that’s not going to make up for the revenue I’ve lost.”