Nidderdale residents are in uproar after an upgrade to their BT broadband line caused havoc with their emails.
An upgrade of the equipment at the Pateley Bridge exchange increased download speeds from 8mb to 20mb in August, however some say they have been left unable to upload files and photos or attach files to emails.
For rural digital companies this has had a detrimental affect on business. Michael Jarosz of Dales Web Design has even resorted to using a coffee shop’s wi-fi to upload files to send to clients. He said: “At the moment I am having to delay doing jobs that I should be doing and using post rather than emails for invoices has led to delays of around two to three days.”
Nidderdale based graphic designer and web developer Mark Iveson said: “I am lucky because sometimes I work freelance so can use that connection for my work.
“If I worked solely from home it would have had a detrimental affect on my business.”
Chris Baxter, a mobile app designer and his wife both work from their home in Pateley Bridge. Mr Baxter noticed the problem from the day after the upgrade.
“I must have made over 100 calls to BT about the issue. I have been very patient with them but it has been going on for three months now,” he said.
Engineers from BT’s Openreach team have visited Mr Baxter’s property four times to check the equipment, with one engineer being assigned to visit the property twice. “He told me, ‘I don’t know why I have been sent out here again’” said Mr Baxter.
Pateley Bridge resident and director of Nidderdale Business Association Chris Henderson became so frustrated with the service he was receiving from BT’s customer services that he wrote to Ian Livingstone, chief executive of BT about the problem, which has led to the issue being taken up by the executive level technical complaints team. “I felt I was getting passed from person to person, I asked to be transferred to a technical manager in the UK but was told that wasn’t possible.
“The day after a reporter from The Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald contacted BT, I received a response from BT.”
Mr Jarosz said: “I was even advised by someone from BT to consider changing service providers to their rivals, Talk Talk.”
MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith said: “I have asked the chief executive of BT Openreach to look into the problem as a matter of urgency on behalf of residents and businesses in the area.”
Spokesman for BT Amy Walker said they have identified the fault and are working to repair it as quickly as possible. She said: “We currently have seven customers linked to this fault but it is possible more are affected but have not reported faults. “We would like to apologise to customers impacted by this fault and for the length of time taken to locate it. Engineers will work as quickly as possible to restore full, working service.”