Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Superfast broadband - update

New cabinet installed

The new fibre cabinet is now in place, but has not been connected as yet. The necessary trenching work across Main Street is almost complete - all that will remain is for BT Openreach to attend to the necessary wiring to connect the fibre cabinet to the old Pillar 3/2 and to make everything 'live'.

New cabinet - PCP 17 [opposite Post Office, Nocton]
I am lobbying hard to ensure that ALL properties in Nocton have access to superfast broadband, if residents choose to upgrade.

Please see the following correspondence to Steve Brookes - OnLincolnshire and also Chris Jones - BT Group Senior PR and Media Relations Manager (East Midlands):

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 16 April 2016 19:07
To: Stephen Brookes [OnLincolnshire]
Cc: Marianne Overton MBE
Subject: Upgrade for Nocton
Importance: High

Hi Stephen,

It is really good to see the work finally progressing to install the new fibre cabinet for Nocton [Metheringham PCP17].

Unfortunately, our BT line went down again last Thursday morning and we were without service until Saturday afternoon, but it did give a useful opportunity to have a detailed discussion with the BT Openreach engineer.  I discovered our particular line problem was tracked down to a notorious duct containing many degraded aluminium wires in Old Sleaford Rd, situated about 1 kilometre away, between the Metheringham 3 cabinet (at Dunston Top) and Nocton. In fact, this is not the first time I have encountered a loss of service because of degraded wiring and I know my other neighbours have suffered outages too.

This brings me nicely around to the main reason why I am writing.

Please can you let me know if you’ve had any further information whether or not the few properties linked to the Metheringham 3 cabinet are going to re-routed to the newly installed fibre-enabled PCP17 cabinet in Nocton?

I have managed to survey what I think are the properties affected – and it appears there might be thirteen in total that are connected to the Metheringham 3 cabinet at Dunston, rather than to Pillar 3/2 at the Post Office, Nocton:
  • Embsay House
  • Embsay Cottage
  • Embsay Holt
  • Rose Cottage
  • 3 Main Street
  • 1 - 5 Old Ten Row, Main Street
  • Kelkherd House
  • Middle Cottage
  • Shooter's Lodge.
The engineer advised there is no technical reason why telephone lines cannot be re-routed, as he is sure there will be spare capacity in the cabinet. However, he did not think the BT Call Centres are geared up to accept formal requests for a change of cabinet from a BT customer… and therefore BT Openreach cannot carry out the work without authority from BT.  I even advised that I would be happy to pay for a brand new line, if this guaranteed me being connected to the new cabinet, which would then free up my old telephone line for a Dunston property perhaps.

It appears the only possible chance of these thirteen properties gaining superfast broadband will be if Openreach are instructed to re-route these thirteen lines en-masse. I appreciate there will be a cost involved, but it would be appreciated if we could get a definitive answer whether or not this is going to actually happen.

Finally, with the latest repair to my current line my broadband speed has increased slightly (now over 4 Mbps) – yet it appears the wires between Metheringham 3 cabinet and Nocton are in a very fragile condition. This is still causing a degradation of signal from the fibre cabinet and hence why we can’t get superfast broadband, compounding the fact that we are located 2 kilometres away.

As such, surely there will be an ongoing cost with continually sending engineers out to repair these deteriorating lines. Is it not reasonable to expect that a cost/benefit analysis will show the cheaper option is to invest in re-routing these thirteen lines now, whilst the other work is still ongoing… or am I clutching at straws?

Kind regards,

From: Stephen Brookes
Sent: 18 April 2016 09:00
To: Geoff Hall
Cc: Marianne Overton MBE
Subject: RE: Upgrade for Nocton

Good Morning Geoff,

Thanks for getting back to me.
I have sent this enquiry to BT and will get a response shortly. As soon as I do, I will let you know.

Kind Regards

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

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 18 April 2016 10:20
To: Chris Jones [BT Group]
Subject: FW: Upgrade for Nocton

Good morning Chris,

As a matter of courtesy and in your role of customer service, please see the current position regarding the work to upgrade our village for superfast broadband… and specifically the issue below.

My recent blog on the BT work is here: http://www.nocton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/superfast-broadband-latest-news_17.html and you might like to see the comment from an ex-BT employee on a potential solution.

If you could let me have a reply, it would be very much appreciated after you have investigated the matter further. Please feel free to liaise with Steve Brookes if this would assist in getting the work done.

Kind regards,

Pillar 3/2 [outside Post Office, Nocton]


  1. Thanks Geoff - much appreciated. Sue

  2. Hi Geoff, just for your info I spoke to a BT eng last week who informed me that Network rail would not give BT access to the duct to replace/repair the affected cable. I had an outage last year due to this problem and it took BT 2 attempts to fix it.

    Excellent work you are doing pushing BT regarding the properties that still may not get fibre (I am at Embsay cottage) and it would be crazy if I could still not get fibre broadband when there is a fibre cab 50 metres away from me !
    I would even contribute towards the cost to do the work if necessary.
    If I can help in anyway in assisting you/lobbying BT to get this work carried out please let me know.
    Keep up the pressure and good work,
    Regards, Jim Mellor

  3. The following is an extract from an email I received yesterday:

    "Hi Geoff,
    Keep up the good work and keep on lobbying. You can add our property to your list.

    I've had similar discussions with the BT Engineers. We've had loads of problems with the old decaying (aluminium) infrastructure and frequently had had them out due to loss of service.

    Our line goes right up to Pillar 3/2 but does not actually go inside of the box. It used to go overhead to the telegraph post near the bus shelter on Main Street... and now it goes underground down the Bridleway to the BT cover (when is always under water) almost opposite our drive.

    Best Regards

  4. Thanks Kevin - it is an evolving situation isn't it.

    I am given to understand that once the new fibre cabinet goes 'live' and the old Pillar 3/2 has been updated for the remainder of the properties in Nocton, the few properties not linked to the new cabinet should still benefit from the network upgrade.

    I understand the current connections in Pillar 3/2 will link across to the new fibre Cabinet 17, thus reducing the number of telephone lines dependent on the old aluminium infrastructure from Cabinet 3 at Dunston Top. This should result in a more reliable and possibly slightly faster service for those left on the aluminium link, as BT Openreach can allow us access to more of the wiring for each of our telephone lines, thus reducing the degradation.

    My initial thoughts are to wait until all the work has been completed, before testing my line speed again and then deciding my next actions.

    I'm currently working on another update which will be posted later today.

  5. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your offer of support, but I have decided to wait now until all the work has been completed before considering next actions. You may like to see my response to Kevin and my blog update later today.

    With regard to Network Rail, I understand BT have a legal access to their infrastructure via a wayleave, but they do have to work around the rail traffic for that access.



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.