Three UK Cause Confusion with Broadband Termination Letter in Swindon

Customers of Three UK’s wireless (4G and 5G) home broadband service in Swindon (South West England), which hails from the old ‘Relish’ wireless service that was acquired from UK Broadband Ltd. in 2017 (here), were recently left in a panic after the operator incorrectly informed them that their service would “no longer be available“.

The confusion stemmed from a letter that was sent out to customers by Three UK last month, which stated: “Due to technical changes in your area, your current Home Broadband service will no longer be available from June. Your existing equipment will need to be removed by a professional. Should you wish to stay with Three we can offer you an alternative Home Broadband service. Visit the coverage checker to see what options are available in your area. We will be in contact with you to discuss.”

The situation prompted local councillors to engage with both Three UK and the government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) agency over the issue, which revealed that the letter was sent because the mobile operator will be replacing their existing 4G masts in the area with newer 4G / 5G ones in order to provide a better service. The catch is that this may require a change of the end-user’s (mobile) router.

According to the Swindon Advertiser and Cllr Sumner, Three UK has since acknowledged that “their communications could have been better” and they have now paused the terminations, albeit while still intending to contact those affected with an agreed date for the hardware change to occur (the new router kit will be provided for free).

In addition, the operator has said that no new contracts will be required and they’ve pledged to provide those impacted with 3 months of free broadband (the same will also be offered to re-sellers, although it is up to them whether they pass this on). But it sounds like the change won’t be particularly smooth.

Cllr Sumner said:

“I’ll be getting updates in due course on the mast programme and 7 sites will be having the new installation constructed before the old one is terminated, whilst 12 masts are what they call ‘rip and replace’ which will affect the service for customers for 3-5 days.”

Put another way, some customers may experience an outage that lasts up to 5 days, which is not trivial.

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