Man quoted half a million pounds for 'affordable broadband' near Cockermouth

Man quoted half a million pounds for 'affordable broadband' near Cockermouth Credit: ITV Border

David Roberts, from Isel near Cockermouth, had looked into upgrading with BT so he could more easily make video calls with his family and watch tv on demand, two activities that have become even more important during lockdown.

Mr Roberts has lived in the village for 33 years.

The internet in Isel, Cockermouth, is powered by copper cables, meaning Mr Roberts has a connection speed of 0.9 Mbps – well below the UK average of 64.

These cables are often damaged by farm machinery and have to be repaired, weakening the signal strength further.

BT’s Universal Service Obligation scheme — which gives the public a right to ‘decent and affordable’ broadband — means people will be given up to £3,400 from the Government as a contribution towards each installation.

BT Credit: PA

BT defended the costly quote saying that it can be incredibly complicated and expensive work to provide homes in rural areas with high speed connectivity.

The work to get high speed broadband to properties like Mr Roberts’ is exceptionally difficult and hugely intensive, with up to 30 people working over a number of months, including the digging of deep trenches through challenging terrain to get fibre laid and installed

The company went on to say that they recognise that the quote was a large amount of money but they provided the costs in line with their legal requirements.