Edinburgh residents to be left without internet as WeLink withdraws provision
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Thousands of residents in the city centre will be left with a ‘horrendous’ connection or no internet at all, after a high-speed provider announced they are ceasing services.
Up to 6,000 homes in areas across the Old Town and parts of the New Town are set to be left with ‘zero options’ to access reliable internet when provider WeLink withdraws provision from the Capital next week.
Residents have said it's a major blow to homes and local businesses which rely on internet connections for taking card payments. Many homes will now be left with slow and unstable connections, after CityFibre has also paused fibre roll-out ‘indefinitely’.
One resident who lives in the Old Town said: “This area is one of the most difficult to get a decent connection. There are horrendous dead spots and when you can get any signal you can barely send an email. Trying to work from home is impossible because we have no other alternatives to decent internet provision. We tried the old line-in, cellular alternative but it was shoddy. The kind of infuriating connection you would get when we still had dial up years ago. WeLink helped, it gave us good speeds at cheap prices. I’m absolutely gutted. It looks like we will now be left with zero options for this area.”
Local MSP Angus Robertson who has been contacted by frustrated customers has described the situation as ‘untenable’. He said: ““It is simply not on for residents and businesses in the centre of Edinburgh – a modern international capital city – not to have decent internet connection with no immediate prospect of improvement.
"I appreciate the immense frustration that this causes to those working from home or operating sales equipment in local businesses, or those simply socialising or watching films online. I have been in touch with residents, internet service providers, and the Scottish Government colleagues to see how we can move forward positively and continue the rollout of the fibre connectivity across the entirety of the city. I will keep residents informed of developments.”
Customers received a message this week from WeLink informing them that their service would cease from 5pm on August 11 and advising them to make alternative arrangements. The company apologised for any inconvenience caused but it didn’t state why the services were being stopped.
But the provider has announced it is withdrawing from the ISP market in a move that has shocked customers, after they had recently increased their coverage in March. Their pilot service setting up 5G-style technologies in poorly served areas of Edinburgh was first launched during summer 2021.
It comes as CityFibre has paused roll-out of high-speed internet and have yet to confirm a date to restart works. So far more than 100,000 homes under a contract with the company who owns, operates and maintains network connection infrastructure across the UK
Mr Robertson and Councillor Finlay McFarlane are holding urgent talks with broadband providers. WeLink has been contacted for comment.
A CityFibre spokesperson, said: “We will remain in close conversation with our local authority stakeholders while we review our plans."