Saturday, 23 April 2016

Superfast broadband - latest


Project Update - Week ending 22nd April 2016

'Delayed cabinets - Metheringham 3/2 (Nocton) - Cabinet is stood and powered. Estimated completion early May.'

Traffic management

At approximately 11.30pm last night, all traffic management in Main Street was dismantled and removed. This was in place to protect the contractors as they carried out the work on the conduits and ducts, but I did think this might have been left in readiness for new cable to be inserted.

It is such a shame that we don't have access to detailed information about the project to upgrade Nocton for fibre, so we are left guessing what this might mean. It could be any number of things:
  • The fibre cable already installed to supply Cab 12  [Potterhanworth Rd] may actually be sufficient to supply the new Cab 17 [School Lane] too, without any new fibre cable being installed.
  • It was thought that BT might feed a new copper cable from Cab 3 [Dunston Top] to Pillar 3/2 [Post Office] to replace the deteriorating aluminium cable to provide a more robust service for the few properties that are not going to be connected to Cab 17. This may not have been the intention after all and the aluminium cable will remain in service.
  • The best case scenario could be the issue of 'Equivalence' has been overcome and all remaining properties for Nocton will be linked to the new fibre cabinet.
Work still required to provide Fibre to the Cabinet

'The Fibre to Cabinet (FTTC) technology sees the DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Module) moving from it's traditional location at the local exchange to a street cabinet in your area.

Fibre is run to the enabled cabinet, and the remaining connection to your premises is run over the existing copper cables. By replacing a large proportion of the copper cables to the cabinet with fibre, it means the speeds that can be achieved are significantly higher.'

I think the final work will involve linking Pillar 3/2 to the DSLAM in Cab 17 using copper cable. In addition, the DSLAM in Cab 17 will need to be enabled by the specialist engineers.

BT Openreach FTTC Fibre Cabinet

If you want to see the complexity of enabling a new fibre cabinet, you only have to look at the photographs of the DSLAM equipment.

Huawei 288 - Cabinet 17

Plate 1: Cab 17 - ready and waiting to be enabled

Plate 2: Distance between new Cab 17 and Pillar 3/2

For those people not familiar with Nocton village, the old cabinet [Pillar 3/2] can be seen underneath the Post Office sign against the wall. The new fibre cabinet is also shown along with the new tarmac covering the conduit linking the two cabinets.

The fourteen properties unlikely to get superfast broadband are already connected to a fibre cabinet [Metheringham - Cabinet 3] nearly 3 kilometres away in Dunston. Five of these properties, are in the same row as the Post Office. The remainder are within 100 metres up the road.

So now you can see how ludicrous the situation is - we are within spitting distance of the new cabinet with superfast broadband tantalisingly close, yet are being told we cannot be re-routed to the new cabinet because of some OFCOM red tape!


  1. Hi Geoff, I think the only way around the Equivalence issue is by the effected residents paying for the work to be carried out (although it grieves me to do this). I am waiting on Steve Brookes to get back to me on this.

  2. Morning Jim. I was able to walk through the practical issues of connecting our lines to Pillar 3/2 with Mick Middleton [Ex-BT Copper/Fibre Network Manager] on-site yesterday. Fortunately for us, the access chambers for the relevant telegraph poles [DP 19 and DP 108] are at the base of each pole, so no expensive trenching work would be required to re-route our lines. BT Openreach would need to feed a new multi-core copper cable from the access chambers serving those two poles, down existing conduit to Pillar 3/2. It appears Pillar 3/2 is going to get a new cabinet as part of the fibre upgrade, as my wife noticed a guy the other day measuring up a new casing at the Post office location. Our lines could then be connected through to Cab 17 along with all others. To complete the work, Metheringham Exchange would need to switch our lines over to make the necessary connection for our numbers... but in short it appears a relatively easy fix. How long it would take and whether there are mechanisms within BT to allow us to contract this work is another matter.

  3. paying for the work ourselves has its own complications, as i know from previously trying to get an unadopted road resurfaced! On the assumption that all 13 properties would be reconnected through these works whether they contribute or not, some will contribute willingly, some won't be interested in high speed broadband and won't be interested in contributing, and some may want it but be unwilling/ unable to contribute. Knowing that Utility Infrastructure works always seem to be expensive, no matter how simple, (and even getting a quotation from BT can be a marathon) this could be a big bill spread between a very small number of people, and as that per-capita bill increases then more people lose interest. But lets see what develops, its certainly an option to explore.

  4. Morning Jason. Yea I agree it could be difficult. I am also waiting for Steve to get back to me on the matter of ordering a second line after the new Cab is enabled. I am hoping it would be linked to the new Cab 17 rather than Cab 3 (due to location). The old legacy line to my property could then be discarded and my telephone number and broadband transferred over. I'm very much in 'wait n see' mode now until the works have been completed. Regards.


Note: All comments are moderated and will not be posted until screening has taken place. This is to ensure no foul language is posted online. Please leave your name if you are making a comment, even if it is just a first name - thank you.