Friday, 22 April 2016

Superfast broadband - losing patience

Commissioning new fibre cab 17

What work will we see in the village today I wonder?

The traffic management has ensured that Main Street is still coned off to one lane, presumably in readiness for BT Openreach to carry out their threading work for the cable to the new cabinet. This follows the preparatory work by contractors yesterday, clearing the conduits and ducts of any debris, and to insert 'pull through' ropes.

If you carefully study my photograph of the open duct situated at the base of the telegraph pole serving my cottage, there appears to be fibre optic cable already in place (yellow/black cables). I am wondering whether this is the fibre cable already routed through to Cabinet 12 (now commissioned and live) on the Potterhanworth side of the village.

If correct in my analysis, what I can't understand is why this source isn't able to connect the new Cabinet 17 too, now it has been erected. I suppose there must be a good technical reason necessitating installation of another cable from the FTTC Metheringham Cabinet 3. The contractors I chatted to yesterday seemed very certain that BT Openreach would be installing yet more cable.

Fibre optic cable?
Having slept on the whole matter, it still irks me greatly that my cottage is situated just metres away from a new fibre cabinet installation, yet my line will remain connected to another cabinet nearly three kilometres away, leaving me unable to get superfast broadband. My frustration must also be felt by many of my close neighbours, as they are in the same position. You can probably sense my resolve beginning to drain away reading my correspondence below:


From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 20 April 2016 20:11
To: Stephen Brookes
Subject: RE: Upgrade for Nocton

Hi Steve,

One last favour, could you ask what would happen if a BT customer orders a second line into their property in these circumstances. In view of the Cab 17 being nearest and with higher speed, would the new line still be patched to the Cab 3 or the nearest Cab?

Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone

From: Stephen Brookes
Sent: 21 April 2016 07:18
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: RE: Upgrade for Nocton

Good Morning Geoff,

Good question, I don't know, but I will ask.


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

Submission to Culture, Media and Sport Committee

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 April 2016 18:17
Cc: Stephen Phillips
Subject: Broadband Connectivity Committee

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was very interested to watch the televised Select Committee meeting with Ed Vaisey MP.

I would like to submit the contemporaneous information contained in my ‘Nocton in Lincolnshire’ blog that has recorded some of the difficulties in getting superfast broadband to a small rural village.

My reports have been written over a two-year period (2014 to date) and catalogue the complexities/problems an end-user encounters in getting information.

I hope this evidence might be of some use to your review.

Yours faithfully,
Geoff Hall

Rub salt in the wound why don't you?

A publicity newsletter for (Lincolnshire Matters) dropped through my post yesterday in respect of the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners. There was an article inside which has touched a raw nerve:

"Superfast broadband rolled out

Our huge investment in Lincolnshire's broadband in partnership with the Government is now reaching its first milestone.

Our OnLincolnshire project has seen over 150,000 properties now having access to superfast broadband. We've brought faster broadband to more than 1,000 properties a week and as a result, we're starting to see a real increase in the number of people signing up for superfast services.

Lincolnshire is now one of the leading counties for connectivity with more homes and businesses having access to online services. Whether it be homes being able to surf the internet and access online entertainment or small businesses being able to compete on the world stage and develop better connections with customers, superfast connectivity is key to growing our county. Nowadays, good broadband is almost as important as good roads, so it's vital we get the right infrastructure in place.

If you currently experience poor broadband speeds, or you are unable to obtain an affordable broadband service at all, the new satellite broadband scheme will provide you with access to an alternative broadband service that will offer speeds of at least 2Mbps.

You can find out more about the whole project at"

They make it sound so easy don't they!!


  1. Geoff,
    My email to Steve Brookes , copied to Councillor Overton, first his responce:-
    Good Morning James,

    Not a great situation I agree and one that we certainly didn't expect.

    However, we are working on this and hope to get the equivalence issue resolved. I'm not sure about the payment issue, but will ask the question anyway.

    With regard to satellite, we will pay the installation up to £350 and I have attached a link to our website that describes the satellite process.


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

    -----Original Message-----
    From: james []
    Sent: 21 April 2016 18:24
    To: Stephen Brookes
    Subject: Nocton Fibre broadband

    I have been contacting you over the last 2 years regarding fibre broadband to my house ( Embsay cottage) , and have been told that during this time I would receive super fast fibre broadband. In fact it was a factor in purchasing our property in June 2013, due to my wife's requirement so she could work from home.
    The fibre cabinet has been installed outside the village post office awaiting to go live. I have just found out that I will not be able to have fibre broadband because I am connected to the telegraph pole which is in turn connected to Dunston.
    I believe that it is possible to re route the cables to the cab 3/2 which in turn will connect to the new fibre cab, but BT will not do this because of 'Equivalence'.
    It is beyond belief that I am situated 50 metres from a fibre cab but I cannot get the fibre service. I am absolutely disgusted and I will do my upmost to do whatever I can to get fibre to my property. Whether this involves going to the media with this farcical situation, or by other means.
    Is it possible for myself and the other 13 residents affected to fund the work required ?
    Will I get assistance for the cost of satellite broadband (even though there are 2 fibre cabinets in the village !).
    Please can you do whatever you can to sort this out.
    I am currently working in Russia on a remote oil pumping station for Siemens Turbines and am currently getting 12Mb/sec , my current connection at Nocton is 1.5-2Mb .....

    Yours faithfully,
    James Mellor

  2. Thanks for letting us see this correspondence Jim. It is a useful intervention at a pivotal time. I think it is important to keep the pressure on those who have some influence over these matters. Regards.

  3. To add to Jim's communications, we also filled Stephens' inbox a little more this morning with our frustrations. Original and response below. We have also emailed Stephen Philips, will forward any response that comes through.

    Good Afternoon Jason,

    Having discussed the issue with the excluded lines with BT, they seem to be sticking with the Equivalence stance. This is something that is dictated by OFCOM and something they are stuck with.

    However, this is also an issue in a number of other areas across the county and on that basis I have decided to write to OFCOM to see if I can get them to look at this issue from a more practical perspective. Whether this does any good is open to debate, but they would appear to be the only ones that can address this issue, or provide guidance in terms of a work-around solution.


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

    From: Jason Clark
    Sent: 22 April 2016 13:54
    To: Stephen Brookes
    Cc: Maria Clark
    Subject: Superfast Broadband to Nocton, Lincolnshire

    Dear Stephen

    As you will be aware Superfast Broadband works are finally taking place within our village of Nocton, after some delays. I understand from fellow villagers that a small number of properties, including our own are to be excluded from this upgrade because we are supplied from a different cabinet in Dunston, which perversely already has been upgraded but is too far away from our property to allow us to benefit. We also understand that at present BT are unwilling to rectify or alter this situation.

    We have the ridiculous situation that the road directly in front of our house, and that of our neighbours, is currently being worked on by BT to allow new fibres to be laid, yet we do not have access to them. We currently get between 1.5- 2.2 mbs broadband, sometimes nothing at all, which is at the very least inconvenient but becomes a real problem when our daughter is unable to complete her homework because she cannot view or download the information that she needs. And the most frustrating thing is that the new cabinet is only about 100m from our house!

    Are you aware of any course of action that would resolve this issue? BT are being supplemented with Public Money to provide Superfast Broadband to Lincolnshire and rural areas, I do not understand why we are being excluded from this initiative. What pressure needs to be applied to BT to persuade them to connect the remaining 13 houses to the new cabinet? I understand the issues of Equivalence, but is that not also interpreted that all customers should receive the same quality of service?

    We await your thoughts on these issues.

    With Kind Regards

    Jason & Maria Clark

  4. Many thanks Jason - I'm truly hoping that those with the influence can bring a pragmatic solution to this, instead of getting bogged down in the excessive bureaucratic red tape that seems to shackle everything nowadays. “Common sense will nearly always stand you in better stead than a slavish adherence to the conventions.” [M.M. Kaye]

  5. Dear Stephen / Geoff

    I would like to add to the comments made by the residents of Nocton who are rumoured to miss out on receiving Superfast Broadband to their properties. My husband James has already made several valid comments on this issue as have our neighbours; I would however like to add that as the owner of a Lincoln Recruitment company I sometimes have the need to work from home and with less than 2.2 mbs of broadband speed it is almost impossible to download candidates CV’s and documents and therefore be able to do my job efficiently.
    If our property were stuck in the middle of nowhere then maybe this would be acceptable, but being only 100m or so from the new cabinet and not being able to work from home is just ridiculous especially as according to BT’s website we are entitled to purchase our superfast Broadband immediately!!
    Any assistance with this matter would be most welcome

    Caroline Mellor

  6. Thanks very much Caroline for your comment.


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