Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Superfast broadband - more news

Wider solution

I have been chasing BT with a reminder today and to my surprise it elicited a reply:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 25 October 2016 12:42
To: Eaton Fallows
Cc: Stephen Brookes
Subject: Broadband - Nocton

Dear Mr Fallows,

I refer to my recent complaint to the Chairman of BT regarding fibre broadband services to Nocton.
Please see the summary of progress to date with the BDUK Project:https://nocton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/onlincolnshire-bduk-project-nocton.html

Are you now able to let me have a more detailed explanation of what is holding up:
  1. The release of fibre service to ISPs relating to Metheringham Cabinet 17?
  2. The long delay in signing off Change Request 22?
I eagerly await the courtesy of a reply.

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall

From: Eaton Fallows
Sent: 25 October 2016 16:19
To: Geoff Hall
Cc: Ian K McEwan; Stephen Brookes; Steve.E.Henderson
Subject: RE: Broadband - Nocton

Dear Mr Hall,

I am aware of your mail to our Chairman and I have ensured that this has been communicated to the wider BT team involved in providing services to Nocton.

My colleague, Ian McEwan,  has kindly provided you with the technical explanation as to what is required and the process for delivery of the service.

In response to your specific questions.
  1. Metherington 17 cabinet was released last week. There is a delay before records are updated and released to ISP’s. We allow two weeks for this process to complete.
  2. As explained previously the Change Request (CR) you refer to is part of a wider solution that we had modelled and have been preparing for release to Lincolnshire. The solution also takes into account additional requests from Lincolnshire which will provide additional services. Changes to one of these additional requests has resulted in a need to provide it as a stand-alone solution at a later date. This has required BT to re-visit the overall solution and remove references to the impacted element. We have completed the re-modelling and are presently completing the required information that will allow us to submit the solution to Lincolnshire. Once Lincolnshire have received the completed CR it will go through a period of assurance by both BDUK and Lincolnshire, assuming the assurance is positive then the CR can be formally authorised by Lincolnshire and the solution incorporated into our forward delivery plans. I am expecting to deliver the information to Lincolnshire by Friday 4th November.
We are conscious of the priority to provide service to the residents of Nocton, in this respect I am looking at ways in which we can expedite the delivery ahead of the scheduled delivery plan for the wider solution.

I will update you with the firm date for release of the wider solution and also contact you when I have finalised our plans to bring forward the delivery.

Please be assured this is high on my priority list and I am doing everything I can to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.


From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 25 October 2016 18:13
To: Eaton Fallows
Cc: Ian.K.McEwan; Stephen Brookes; Steve.E.Henderson
Subject: RE: Broadband - Nocton

Dear Mr Fallows,

Thank you for the further explanation of the delay in signing off Change Request 22.

The technical explanation from Mr McEwan appears quite logical and a relatively simple process. I am rather surprised therefore, to learn this work has been amalgamated into ‘a wider solution’ relating to other additional requests for Lincolnshire.

The following questions immediately spring to mind:
  1. Why was the work relating to Change Request 22 unable to be ring-fenced and signed off quickly with OnLincolnshire as a stand-alone solution, enabling your colleagues in Openreach to complete the work quickly?
  2. Was this because there are other consumer lines in Nocton that are not currently connected to either Metheringham Cabinet 12 or 17, hence ‘a wider solution’ is having to be considered for our village?
  3. Does this consideration involve G.fast technology over copper (as I am aware this has been under trial with BT)?
  4. Does the proposed solution for consumers connected via pole DP108 (and possibly DP19) Main Street, Nocton still involve the process outlined by Openreach… or a G.fast solution?
If you can possibly comment on the above, then I shall pause my lobbying and await further updates from both Steve Brookes and you on the agreed way forward, that hopefully will occur no later than the end of November 2016.

Finally, may I make a customer service suggestion – that during these projects, perhaps BT should produce monthly or quarterly newsletters for local communities and liaise with their Parish Councils over progress/delays. I am sure you are all under great pressure, both politically and with organisational targets, to get this work completed for the maximum gain of the majority, but this would save so much bad press and negativity towards your organisation over the difficulties in obtaining accurate information.

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall

Onlincolnshire BDUK Project - Nocton


March 2014
  • Metheringham Exchange is to be upgraded to fibre.
June 2014
  • Date of Metheringham Exchange upgrade delayed.
July 2014
  • A new fibre cabinet (Metheringham Cabinet 3), has been installed at junction of Lincoln Rd, Dunston and Sleaford Rd, B1188. It is now live and will serve 528 premises.
  • Metheringham Exchange is now fibre enabled and accepting orders.
October 2014
  • The upgrade to fibre for Nocton is to be included in Phase 2 of the Lincolnshire BDUK Project.


May 2015
  • A new fibre cabinet for Nocton (Metheringham Cabinet 12) has been installed at junction of Potterhanworth Rd and Manor Court. This serves a minority of properties (62), primarily on Nocton Park.
  • A further survey has now been requested by Onlincolnshire, with a view to BT locating a second fibre cabinet (DSLAM), to pick up the copper feeds from an old metal cabinet (Pillar 3/2 - next to the Post Office), which delivers service to the majority of properties (210) in Nocton.
  • A Change Control will be used to instruct BT to carry out this extra installation work, subject to satisfactory costing.
  • The planning and costings for this Change Control are due by the end of September 2015.
October 2015
  • The work to install an additional DSLAM has been agreed and is now likely to take place in Q1 2016.
November 2015
  • Metheringham Cabinet 12 has been completed.


March 2016
  • Onlincolnshire visited Nocton and confirmed that the second DSLAM has not yet been installed, despite assurances from BT.
  • We now discover there has been a misunderstanding within BT over cabinet numbers - the one they thought was for Nocton, was actually a fibre cabinet (Metheringham Cabinet 16) located in Dunston, a neighbouring village.
  • Due to this misunderstanding, BT are going to fast-track the additional DSLAM.
  • This fibre cabinet will be designated Metheringham Cabinet 17.
  • The documentation for the civil engineering work will also be fast-tracked with Highways.
  • The target date for the completion of the new DSLAM is now 31st March 2016.
  • Despite the provision of a second DSLAM for Nocton, there are a few legacy lines that do not connect via Pillar 3/2, but are connected direct to Metheringham Cabinet 3.
  • Metheringham Cabinet 3 is located too far away from Nocton to provide any extra speed for consumers, over their current copper connection.
  • Therefore, OnLincolnshire are endeavouring to get these lines re-routed to the second DSLAM, but BT is quoting 'Equivalence Rules' that apparently make this impossible due to an OFCOM agreement.
April 2016
  • BT have now discovered there is insufficient space to erect the second DSLAM where Pillar 3/2 is located, therefore it will require an alternative location.
  • The traffic management date for the engineering work has therefore been delayed slightly.
  • All trenching work to install trunking for the copper connection to new DSLAM cabinet has now been completed.
  • New DSLAM (Metheringham Cabinet 17) is now in place and powered.
  • The estimated completion date is revised to early May.
May 2016
  • The new Metheringham Cabinet 17 is stood and powered, but BT now discover the existing Pillar 3/2 needs a new shell.
  • This requires another site meeting to determine if re-location is required.
  • Confirmation received from BT Legal that 'Equivalence Rules' definitely do not apply to the BDUK Project, only to consumer requests post-build.
  • BT determine that Pillar 3/2 does need a new shell, but in addition it needs to be located elsewhere.
  • Pillar 3/2 will be made redundant and a new shell will be erected.
  • This will require yet more civil engineering.
  • BT High Level Complaints have also confirmed that 'Equivalence Rules' do not apply and it is within the remit of the Lincolnshire BDUK Project to ensure this work is undertaken.
  • Onlincolnshire seeks further clarification from BT, regarding the extra work to route the legacy lines to the new DSLAM (Metheringham Cabinet 17), instead of Metheringham Cabinet 3.
June 2016
  • The replacement shell for Pillar 3/2 has now been erected in the alternative location and awaits connection by BT.
  • Work is required to shift all copper pairs from Pillar 3/2 to the replacement shell.
  • OnLincolnshire have decided to issue a formal contractual Change Request (22) to BT, to move the remaining legacy lines from Metheringham Cabinet 3 to the new Metheringham Cabinet 17.
July 2016
  • Discussions are ongoing between Onlincolnshire and BT over costs of implementing the Change Request 22.
  • The new DSLAM Cabinet 17 is stood and powered.
  • BT advise Onlincolnshire that Cabinet 17 will be commissioned within the next two weeks.
  • Agreement has now been reached in principle, about the costs of the Change Request 22 work.
  • The new Cabinet 17 still needs external fibre provision and the Exchange to be completed.
August 2016
  • The Change Request 22 relating to the legacy line work is still to be signed off.
  • BT have still not returned the relevant paperwork; it is expected within the next 10 days.
  • There is also an ongoing situation with the commissioning of Cabinet 17.
  • Pillar 3/2 still requires the circuits moving from the old cast iron shell outside the Post Office, to the new shell on the other side of the road.
  • The civil engineering work is complete on this.
  • The cabling and jointing activity should start by the end of this week.
  • The fibre route has not been proven yet, although the DSLAM is stood and powered.
  • The estimated completion date for Cabinet 17 is revised to mid-September.
  • Telec Utilities commence work on connecting the copper cable between Pillar 3/2 and the new Cabinet 17.
  • The contractors work all weekend to disconnect Pillar 3/2 and re-route all lines through to the new cabinet.
  • Unfortunately, many problems arise with consumer lines after the contractors have finished the work and have left the site.
September 2016
  • BT Openreach take over the work to rectify the many problems left over from the conversion work by Telec Utilities.
  • BT management attend site to discuss problems encountered.
  • Work commences to link the new replacement cabinet for Pillar 3/2, to the new Cabinet 17.
  • Onlincolnshire report 'Ready for service, all engineering works and commissioning complete', but there is a delay issuing the updates to wholesale computer records.
  • Full service expected to be available at the end of next week.
  • The Change Request 22 relating to the legacy line work is still not signed off.
  • The wholesale computer records are still with commissioners to finalise.
  • Despite Cabinet 17 appearing on screens of ISPs, they are still not able to take orders.
  • An update then states commissioning complete, service availability imminent.
October 2016
  • Problems with the wholesale computer records still remain though.
  • Consumers are still unable to take up fibre services.
  • The Change Request 22 relating to the legacy line work is still not signed off.
  • The cause of delay to the Change Request 22 is with BT Group, not Openreach or OnLincolnshire.
  • Formal complaint submitted to Chairman of BT.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Nocton Club - AGM


Thursday 17th November 2016
7.30pm for 8pm Start

Come along and have you’re say in how the club is run. Please bring your membership card to vote.
If you wish to join the committee, proposal forms are available in the club. These must be completed by 31 October 16

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bangers and Mash event


The November 5th event has been cancelled as it conflicted with other events. The VHMC thought it would be nice to resurrect the lunch they used to have in the past - so the new date is:

Friday 9 December: 12 noon - 2pm: 'Back End' Lunch - £5.00

Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy (vegetarian option available)  - selection of puds - tea and coffee.   Raffle and Mulled Wine

Come and have a gossip and catch up…

Tickets from any of the VHMC or at the Post Office.

Source: What's On In Nocton - Facebook [posted Tuesday 18th October]


Nocton Village Hall Committee would like to invite you to a warming Winter Lunch on Friday 9th December between 12 noon and 2pm including:

Sausage, mash and mushy peas/Sausage casserole/Hot dogs and onions and lots of delicious desserts.

Mulled wine for sale and a raffle.

Price per person is £5

Tickets from Lorna Storr - Tel: 01526 322074 / 01526 580311, or contact any Committee member

Source: What's On In Nocton - Facebook [posted Friday 22nd October]

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Superfast broadband - formal complaint


'Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.'

Source: Wikipedia

This is my latest correspondence with BT:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 20 October 2016 19:08
To: Ian McEwan
Cc: Eaton Fallows; Stephen Brookes
Subject: Nocton Superfast broadband

Hi Ian,

I refer to my email query enclosed, which you were copied in to. I know this is rather unorthodox, but it would really be appreciated if you could assist with providing some information for me whilst I’m waiting for a formal reply from Mr Fallows.

I have contacted my ISP (BT) with a specific question, but they have advised only Openreach can answer – therefore, please may I ask a favour of you and tap your technical knowledge. I understand from an online profile that you are Programme Manager, Head of IT Interlock Testing @ BT Openreach / Senior Project Manager @ BT Operate / Senior Operational Solutions Manager @ Openreach.

My current consumer line is connected to Metheringham Cab 3 (which has been fibre enabled), but with my property in Nocton being over 3 kilometres away from the cab, I am unable to obtain BT Infinity and will be better retaining my copper line. As you probably know by now, these ‘legacy lines’ for Nocton are subject to a Change Request (22) via the Lincolnshire BDUK Project, but as it seems there might be a long delay in getting this sorted, I am wondering if there may be a shortcut to me getting BT Infinity. Let me explain.

As the new fibre service for Nocton is now available via the new FTTC (Metheringham Cab 17), which is only 30 metres away from my property, if I was to order a second (new) consumer line from my provider, how would this be connected:

1. Would the engineer just route this new line to my existing Cab 3 which is already providing the copper service for my main line?
2. Would the engineer seek to route the secondary new line to the new Cab 17, whereupon I could obtain fibre?

N.B. Please see the photograph enclosed – this shows the new fibre Cabinet 17 on the right, my cottage is in the same row as the Post Office, and my existing line is linked to the telegraph pole near the bus stop / temporary traffic lights (which has an access duct right at the bottom of this pole).

My guess is that this would require a dedicated site visit by the engineer, but there seems no mechanism within BT whereby I can specifically request such an order, on the basis of it only going ahead subject to it linking to the closest fibre cab… with the result of obtaining BT Infinity on that second new line.

I would really be interested in your thoughts.

Kind regards,

As I was not really expecting a reply, I was really appreciative of Mr McEwan's speedy response... especially as it was one that I could understand too:

From: ian.k.mcewan@openreach.co.uk
Sent: 21 October 2016 08:50
To: Geoff Hall
eaton.fallows@bt.com; Stephen.Brookes
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Good morning Mr Hall,

I believe you are fed from the Distribution Pole across the road (DP108), which as you say, is fed from Metheringham 3; CR 22 is to provide a new copper cable from DP 108 to Metheringham 17 and then to swing all the customers on DP 108 into Metheringham 17 thus giving those customers access to, I believe, really good speeds. Engineering wise, once the CR is signed, and we have the planned job out of our planning teams, to actually provide the cable and swing the exchange wiring, is a simple task and should not take more than a couple of days to complete.

Once I have visibility of the authorised CR, I won’t wait for the planning teams to provide the planned job as I know what needs to be done, I will direct our engineers to complete the necessary work as a priority.

In terms of the wider community served by Metheringham 17; we have had a records issue but this is now resolved, so those customers should now be able to order fibre service.

Hope this helps Mr Hall,
Ian McEwan
Senior Project Manager, BDUK / SEP Lincolnshire & Rutland

It was therefore nice to be able to give BT some positive feedback for once:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 October 2016 09:46
To: ian.k.mcewan@openreach.co.uk
Cc: eaton.fallows@bt.com; Stephen.Brookes@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Hi Ian,

Thank you so much for replying with a comprehensive explanation.

The problem seems to be there are many parties to this solution for Nocton. We have consumers with various ISPs; OnLincolnshire at Lincoln County Council is handling the BDUK Project; we have BT Group who is the access point for Steve Brookes to manage the project; finally, BT Openreach are responsible for carrying out the necessary work. Somewhere along this line, communication is breaking down and the change request is being delayed for sign off.

I would be very interested to find out who is sitting on this document, failing to process it further down the line. Perhaps Mr Fallows can investigate this matter further for us to identify what is holding up the change request?

Surely, it cannot be beyond our combined professional abilities to work together in solving this issue once and for all. We can then be secure in the knowledge that Nocton village has finally been upgraded for fibre in totality and this aspect of the BDUK Project can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Please be assured I will not be troubling you with continued correspondence, however I will continue to seek an early solution to this matter with Messrs Brookes and Fallows.

Yours sincerely,

I also welcomed some further detail from OnLincolnshire, who clarified the extent of the change request delay:

From: Stephen Brookes
Sent: 21 October 2016 09:59
To: Geoff Hall; ian.k.mcewan@openreach.co.uk
Cc: eaton.fallows@bt.com; Owen Williams <owen.williams@lincolnshire.gov.uk>; Naomi Nutting <Naomi.Nutting@lincolnshire.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Good Morning Geoff,

Firstly, my thanks to Ian for outlining the physical work and for reiterating my earlier comments about our intention to prioritise the work.

However, I feel I must clarify this issue from Lincolnshire County Council's perspective because I can only answer your question truthfully.

I sent the CR to BT Group on 21st June this year. The process is that upon receipt, BT Group carry out an 'Impact Assessment' and then send it back to us for approval and sign off. To date, I am still not in receipt of the sign off and therefore neither LCC or Openreach are able to progress this work.

Under the contract, Openreach will carry out the work when the CR is signed off by LCC and BT Group. They can do nothing before this happens.

Steve Brookes
Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Manager
Tel. 01522 552450
Mob. 07825 043978

It now seemed the right time to escalate this matter within BT to try and encourage some priority action in completing our fibre roll out.

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 October 2016 10:47
To: michael.rake@bt.com
Cc: eaton.fallows@bt.com; ian.k.mcewan@openreach.co.uk; Stephen.Brookes@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Subject: Formal Complaint - Nocton, Lincolnshire
Importance: High

Dear Sir Michael,

I am sorry to have to trouble you with this matter, but perhaps your complaints team could investigate the issues that continue to delay Nocton village with an upgrade to fibre.

I am the author of a local blog ‘Nocton in Lincolnshire’ and have been cataloguing the ongoing work over a couple of years. Incorporated within my blog is a full contemporaneous record of how this project has unfolded over the many months involved. As you can see, I have provided updates from OnLincolnshire, technical descriptions, actual photographs of work undertaken with links to BT training videos, all aimed at helping your customers understand exactly what is going on. Suffice to say we have had some rather troubling delays, mainly due to mistakes being made by BT contracted out services and a general lack of information from BT itself. In view of this, Ofcom were offered this extensive record as part of the evidence to their ‘Strategic Review of Digital Communications’, but rather than focus on the past I want to concentrate on the current situation.

There are two fibre cabinets that handle most of the consumer lines for the village and both have now been enabled – thank you. However, some consumer lines are still connected to a legacy cabinet situated outside the village, too far away to benefit from the fibre service. This aspect of work is subject to a change request submitted by Steve Brookes of OnLincolnshire as part of the BDUK Project. You can see the latest correspondence with BT representatives in this blog update and in the most recent email attached. The problem seems to lie with a significant delay in signing off the formal change request which was submitted to BT Group as far back as 21st June 2016.

I would like to request that your complaints team investigate this delay and respond with an explanation and solution, so that BT Openreach can progress this final aspect of work to fibre-enable the remaining lines for our village.

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall

OnLincolnshire Project Update - Week ending 21st October 2016

Delayed cabinets
Metheringham 3/2 (Nocton) - Still having issues - we are chasing this to remedy asap