A Powys company has said its business is suffering due to the “crippling” payments it is being forced to pay by BT.

Joanne and Adrian Moller have been in a battle with BT over “absolutely crippling” costs being charged to their business Simply Ribbons in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant.

“Trying to get anywhere forward with BT or Openreach is an absolute nightmare, we have just come to the end of our tether,” said Joanne.

“We run an online ribbons business we cover everything from someone getting married to cut lengths and packaging, it’s quite a wide remit but it is also quite niche.

“We have a warehouse which is basically converted cattle shed which is full of ribbons and that is where we have worked from for the last 15 years.

“Over the years the internet has caused us issues. It had a failing service.”


The company, which employs five people locally, started looking at solutions after reaching the point where only one computer could access the internet at once which left the business “creaking at the seams”.

The couple were told there would not be any fibre optic cable laid for at least a decade and that their best option was to have a bespoke fibre optic line installed.

They said their neighbour told them they had been approached about having an emergency mast installed on their land, but BT said no such mast was planned.

Instead the pair paid for a bespoke line to be installed – which was at the time meant for their exclusive use.

This cost more than £18,000 and the business has been paying that off on top of its regular payments, meaning its internet bills have reached £800 per month which they describe as “absolutely crippling”.

But the emergency mast was then built, and it was revealed that the cable was one of five in the system which the couple has said means the mast is no longer exclusive.

“If we have paid to put that infrastructure in place surely there be some sort of compensation,” said Adrian. “We said to BT, it’s only fair you reimburse us some of the cost of that instillation as someone else is now using the line we had installed.

“We don’t have a problem with that but we don’t think it’s fair that we stomach all of that cost, it seems unethical that we have in essence funded BT’s business.”

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Montgomeryshire Senedd member Russell George has been backing the couple in their fight with BT and has lodged a complaint with the regulator.

“This case points to a potential unfairness that some businesses and individuals face," said Mr George.  “Just because they are the first to request a service in a particular location, they are effectively paying for infrastructure to be installed, not only for their own purpose, but for all those that order the service after them in the same area.

“The Moller family were under the impression that infrastructure had been installed purely for their business, only for then find out that the line had multiple cables that could be used to service other customers.

“I have raised this issue, as well as a potential miss-selling of a service with OFCOM and have asked them to investigate.”

BT says it covered the first £8,800 of the instillation.

A spokesperson said: “We understand the customer’s concerns around the higher than normal installation costs involved in providing a dedicated business-grade broadband connection for their rurally located business.

“The service we’ve provided is solely used by the customer and is not shared with other customers. It is not like a consumer-grade service and has a number of benefits for businesses which is reflected in the monthly cost.

“The initial construction costs to provide service are made up of the costs for our network infrastructure partner, Openreach, to build the necessary ducts or overhead poles to provide the new service.”