Reply from BT

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    Below is some correspondence passed to the site this afternoon.


    From Rhona McColl to Sylvia Jackson MSP (, 8 September 2005

    Dear Ms Jackson

    BT Broadband in Killin

    Thank you very much for your letter and your efforts to pin BT down on this subject. I note their response to you however I also note from their website today that the date for Broadband to reach Killin is now 4 November 2005.

    Clearly the G8 summit of July and the landslides of August 2004 are no longer factors in this issue and I draw no comfort at all from the BT site, which proudly declares that 99% of all homes in the UK can already get Broadband. This simply reaffirms my view, which I am sure is shared by my neighbours, that Killin is a rural community about which there is little for anyone in business to take much notice.

    Clearly the date of 4 November is a significant slip from 21 September which you were confident that BT would meet. This date has now slipped 4 times and there is nothing to give confidence that this date will be met either. I would be pleased to hear your views on this failure to bring an important service to the residents of Killin.

    Yours sincerely

    Rhona McColl


    Reply From Ian Shanks (, 12 September 2005

    Rhona/ Sylvia

    There isn’t really much I can add except perhaps to give you some more information on the delays – which have not been the fault of BT

    Work on this started back in September 04 but had to be stopped in October because we could not get permission from BEAR Scotland to proceed until November when our contractors had to de-silt the route in collaboration with Lux who were handling traffic management

    There was a landslip in January which forced us off the road again – we were allowed back in February. Much of the duct route was blocked and progress was extremely slow and we had to set up full traffic management controls at each section. In June we were prevented from accessing the road because of the G8 summit. We were allowed back at the end of July but once again work progressed slowly because of blockages and traffic management.

    In August damage was caused to our duct by 3rd party contractors. Council would not allow us to access and replace the damaged duct until 29 August. The work to replace the damaged ducting is continuing as quickly as possible and once the new duct and cable is in place and all tests have been completed on the route we can then connect up to the broadband equipment in the exchange.

    I can assure you that the delays in this job have been extremely costly to BT and it has certainly not been in our interests for the work to have taken so long.

    Ian Shanks (
    Head of Scottish Affairs
    Directors Office – BT Scotland
    pp HW P165
    PO Box 234
    Edinburgh EH12 9UR
    Tel:- 01977 594202


    Reply From Rhona, 17 September 2005

    Ian with respect all this is saying is that “it’s not our fault” I work for RBS where this sort of response to a customer would not be acceptable and I don’t feel that this is either. Neither does your response explain exactly what is being done to rectify the matter. It is not hard to see why people in rural communities feel like second class citizens when so little is done to bring them the services that the other 99.6% (latest figure) of the uk population enjoy. An endlessly slipping date which is now at 4 November does nothing to bring the connectivity we need to this area. I look forward to (eventually) receiving my broadband connection.

    Rhona McColl

    ,Iain Campbell

    Well it’s great to hear from someone at BT at long last, and I suppose some of the issues Ian Shanks from BT talks about we can accept.. The landslide in September last year that’s fair enough, so between November and January they were around from time to time until the landslide just at the corner before Lochearnhead supposed to have stopped them again, where have the contractors been February then.? From a good local source, the were asked to stop working for two weeks until BEAR Scotland tided up the mess. For those of us who travel the glen daily did you seen any contractors working on the BT ducting? It’s only in the past two or three weeks that they have returned to the Glen……..

    As for the council part, the only council managed part of the route is the A827 into the village and I for one have not seen any third party contractors working on the Lixtoll Killin road who could have damaged the ducting. Yesterday BTs contractors were digging up at Acharn Farm road end. Must have been the earthquake we had last year that done all the damage!!

    Anyway, since when did BT have to ask to dig up the road?, wait until the Main Street has been resurfaced later this year, they will be at the front of the queue waiting to make the first hole in it.



    More from Mr Shanks (


    Work on upgrading our exchanges is planned on the assumption that we are able to get access to roads to bury our ducts and lay our cable. For a whole series of reasons we have not been able to do this. The causes of the delay are genuinely not our fault and I would expect any organisation including RBS to be honest with customers and explain what has caused delays. I do sympathise with the people in Killin but work is progressing as quickly as possible – this is not a job which can be completed quickly it involves many kilometres of road excavations which have to be carried out in liaison with the local authority and the responsible roads agency. Safety is obviously paramount and appropriate traffic management systems have to be set up ( which in turn require a period of notice).

    Had we had a crystal ball and been able to predict the problems which have been encountered on this job the broadband enablement date for the exchange would have been set much later.



    In response to the delays, and consequent waste of time and money to everyone who has waited, I’m suggesting a radical solution to happen the day broadband arrives.

    Encourage a free wifi connection at either end of the village, (ideally via Cafe’s which would be a business bonus to them) and then stick out buying broadband for six months!

    This will have the effect of:

    • bringing the cafes into line with the cities, but having a free connection for cusrtomers and locals nearby
    • increasing their business, (through business as well as locals)
    • giving me pleasure at seeing BT not reap all the benefits after making us wait- stop BT making a killin.

    The only disadvantage is that periodically the wifi conection may need to be reset (I have wifi elsewhere and every so often it need switched on and off). The wifi will be unsecured and so should not be used for any really important ultra secret stuff where there may be a local hacker (!) sitting closeby.
    Both downsides are outweighted by the upside!
    The cafes would have to have broadband, but surely most businesses would want it anyway? It is tax deductable for them. I also think there are enough of us around who could muster the bits for them as well.

    Too radical??


    Not too radical, unfortunately it will not work efficiently without investment.

    I had looked into provding wifi access throughout the village a few years ago, and unfortunately to provide a solution to the whole village is not really cost effective, if you want to have a quality service that is always available.

    I looked at options of having an internet backbone coming into Killin, and using WiFi technology throughout the village. This would require relays up and down the main street, as well as relays up the hills to accomodate businesses and homes off the main street. Once I planned it all, it was just too expensive.

    However, if a few “nearby” businesses want to share an internet connection, then this is very easy, and cheap.

    As for public wireless access – we either have, or very soon will have our own wireless hotspot – the telephone box next to Shutters, I believe! This is independent of broadband arriving in the village, since it uses different technology. I don’t think it is free, though!


    I have noticed tonight that BT have removed a date completely from the line checker form, and replaced it with a recommendation for “Exchange Activate”?

    Check it out here for yourself…



    Over at BT wholesale they list Killin RFS date as 1/1/1900!?

    Apparently Killin has been enabled for Broadband all along for the last 105 years.

    On a more serious note, this may be a sign that Killin is finally getting somewhere… time will tell and don’t hold your breath. I wouldn’t trust Mr Shanks at BT after the last two months of BT let downs, push backs and basic BT bull-s***e.


    Ouch. We really do not want to be on the Exchange Activate programme. This is for exchanges that either are not large enough or do not have the capability of taking full blown ADSL broadband (I will expand on jargon if anyone wants).

    I do not want to go into the technical details here, but if we are enabled via Exchange Activate, then we are not likely to get really fast (2MB) broadband – and it is possible that some of us outside the village will get no broadband connection at all.

    This is a serious turnaround from BT. I will try to get further information, but I expect my source has dried up.



    Unfortunately, this is not a sign that Killin is getting anywhere, the exact opposite, I feel.


    The way I see it is that they have finally faced the fact that they should not be giving us false dates when they can’t follow through and have taken away any public RFS date until they know for sure. With the ongoing work that has been sparked in the last couple of weeks I feel that we are getting somewhere, I don’t know where though as BT are keeping very quiet.

    Mark wrote:

    Unfortunately, this is not a sign that Killin is getting anywhere, the exact opposite, I feel.

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