Business faces closure due to internet issues with BT

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A Ceredigion business is facing closure after years of ‘absolute desperation’ and persistent internet problems with BT.

Jillian Hickson is the owner of Dolau Afon, a self-catering camping and accommodation site in Llanafan, alongside her husband, Vernon Hickson.

But over the past seven years, internet connection problems in the rural area have led to “pure desperation, abject frustration and outright anger” for the couple.

Jillian told the Cambrian News: ‘It will get to the point where we have to close our business.

A BT spokesperson said they were in touch with Jillian and were doing “everything [they] can help him”.

“We live in Llanafan, a rural, mountainous, hilly and wooded area in mid-west Wales at the bottom of a valley in the Cambrian Mountains,” Jillian explained, “there is little or no signal from mobile phone here and we therefore rely heavily on a good internet connection.

“About 18 months ago we were hooked up to fiber to the door, lightning fast, promising 900mg. We rarely get more than 110mg. On many occasions since installing super-fast, we’ve had little to no internet for over 50-80% of the time. For the past two weeks since work has been done locally to connect other parts of the village and region to fiber optics through Openreach and BT, our internet and phones have been down for 80% of the time.

“Internet constantly cuts out, no phone or faint crackling and static, unable to hear what people are saying, only hearing every other word or part of word in a sentence.

“We are unable to conduct our business in a professional and uninterrupted manner. We are losing bookings, unable to make payments, unable to use internet banking. All of these things are vital and important for us to live.

“When guests don’t have cash and the only way to pay for their stay is by card, what are we supposed to do when our internet isn’t working?”

BT engineers visit the site “on a regular basis”, before declaring that they have fixed it. But Jillian says that’s never the case and feels like they’re “going around in circles”.

A BT spokesperson said: “Although we have confirmed that broadband is working normally, with speeds of 900Mbps to the router, we plan to move the router connection inside the house to see if it helps to increase the wifi signal in his house. .

“We also recommended Ms. Hickson consider a business-grade service to extend broadband signal to her vacation properties, as her current service is designed for home use.”

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