Friday, 26 August 2016

Superfast broadband - super slow commissioning

Latest news

Further to my last blog on this matter this is the current situation:

Emails with Marianne Overton MBE

From: Marianne Overton
Sent: 21 August 2016 02:06
To: Geoff Hall, Nocton
Subject: Fwd: Update for Nocton please

Hi Geoff,

I hope you are OK. What news on the broadband in Nocton, due to be completed last March? Steve Brookes is on holiday at the moment, but I just wanted to find out where we were.

It  does seem to be appalling that we have spent so much on a system that does not reach the rural areas properly. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? I tweeted some useful links recently, which you may have already seen. I have been working on it nationally through the Local Government Association and there is some info on the website.

I spoke to the Leader of Cornwall recently who has had substantial rural funds spent on broadband. He was very positive about their achievement of 30Mbpc to 95pc of a very dispersed population. Now working towards 99pc!

Kind regards,
Marianne Overton MBE

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 August 2016 08:06
To: Marianne Overton
Cc: Nocton Parish Council
Subject: RE: Update for Nocton please

Good morning Marianne,

I am very well – thank you for asking… and also for checking up on the broadband issue for Nocton.

I have been lobbying Onlincolnshire and BT for quite some time now as you know. I am happy to report we are finally making progress. The fibre cabinet has been installed (near The Green), along with another link cabinet, but neither have been commissioned yet. We are still awaiting a date from BT on when this might ‘go live’.

Although BT are in the process of commissioning the new fibre cabinet for the majority of Nocton residents, there are still a few residents connected to another cabinet near Dunston on legacy lines which would not be able to obtain the upgraded fibre (mainly living in Main Street and Wellhead Lane). Due to our extensive lobbying, Steve has now raised a separate ‘Change Request’ to get these legacy lines transferred to the new fibre cabinet in Nocton. I think the funding is coming from savings made to date.

BT is currently scheduling this work in as a separate project I believe, but we are still awaiting further details. Once Steve is back from holiday, please be assured I will be chasing him again. The problem seems to be the mammoth organisation that is BT. BT Openreach have been quite amenable to carrying out this extra work, but the contract is being organised through BT itself, and it is like wading in treacle!

Steve has been working hard to support us - my latest community update was on 10th August 2016 (also see the Comments). My previous report was dated 26th July 2016.

With regard to Facebook, I use this social medium quite actively to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. I have sent you a ‘Friend Request’ if you wish to link up online.

Finally, there is another issue in Nocton that you may wish to look into – that is the piecemeal overdevelopment of our village without provision of further facilities.

Following the granting of outline planning permission for a dwelling to the rear of The Shieling [15/1127/OUT], this appears to have set rather a precedent for the village. Mr Paul Clarke (ex Nocton Farms Ltd) has now submitted an application [16/0862/OUT] to develop the land behind the Village Hall – only a single dwelling currently, but I’m sure if successful this will lead to a further application. There is some history behind this site which you might be interested in. You will see I have already lodged an objection. Peter Sowerby also continues to squeeze in many more dwellings than originally planned on his final phase on Nocton Park. The latest application causing much controversy and many objections is 16/0795/FUL. I have also objected to this too.

Best regards,

From: Marianne Overton
Sent: 21 August 2016 13:00
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: Re: Update for Nocton please

Thanks a lot Geoff and thank you for all your continuing excellent work for us. As I am your county councillor rather than District, I do not get informed unless residents raise it with me. So thank you. I will look at your sit again. I do normally check it monthly before writing my monthly newsletter.

Kindest Regards,

Emails with OnLincolnshire

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 24 August 2016 20:17
To: Stephen Brookes (OnLincolnshire)
Cc: Marianne Overton; Nocton Parish Council
Subject: Urgent update for Nocton please
Importance: High

Hi Steve,

You may like to see that Marianne has been in touch for an update regarding broadband for Nocton (see correspondence below). I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there will be no work carried out this week on the new fibre Cab 17.

Since I reported back to Marianne, a problem seems to have arisen. I managed to speak with a BT engineer who had the Cab 17 door open on Tuesday 23rd. There has been a misunderstanding between BT Openreach and the external contractor, both who thought the other were doing the work to commission the Cab – as a result we are no further forward. The copper line has not even been fed through from Pillar 3/2 to Cab 17, therefore no lines have yet been connected and there will be no fibre service being commissioned in the short term.

The BT engineer is going to report back to his Line Manager to advise that the required work is still outstanding and to recommend they actually take over responsibility for feeding through the new copper line between Pillar 3/2 and Cab 17, so that the fibre cabinet can then be commissioned. As regards the additional work to re-route the legacy lines from Cab 3 to Cab 17, the BT engineer is aware of the Change Request, but told me this work will remain with the external contractor to complete – and he thought it would be done during Phase 2 of the work plan (whatever that means).

In view of this diabolical situation, please can you chase both aspects of this work as a matter of urgency and let me know:
  1. What exactly is the situation regarding the contracted work?
  2. When can we expect this work to be carried out?
  3. When will Cab 17 actually be commissioned?
  4. When will the Cab 3 legacy lines be re-routed to Cab 17?
  5. When will residents be able to apply for the new fibre service?
I think we have all been very patient thus far and this is now getting beyond a joke – if what the BT engineer told me is actually true!

Best regards,

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 24 August 2016 20:22
To: Owen Williams (OnLincolnshire)
Subject: FW: Urgent update for Nocton please

Good evening Owen,

I understand Steve is out of the office until Monday 29th – in view of the developing situation described below, you may want to attend to this email in advance of his return to work.

There is an ongoing situation with the commissioning of Cab 17 for Nocton, which you will see from my report below.

Kind regards,

From: Owen Williams
Sent: 25 August 2016 10:20
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: RE: Urgent update for Nocton please

Hello Geoff,

Please excuse the brief response, I am currently bogged down in contractual/State Aid scrutiny of a BT change request, but I will speak to the BT Openreach project manager this afternoon to see what is going on.

In the meantime please see below update provided by the BT Openreach project manager on Monday which I passed to Marianne at the time:

“I got your voicemail. Metheringham 3/2 (PCP17) requires the circuits moving from the old cast iron shell outside the Post Office to the other side of the road. The civils work is complete on this and the cabling and jointing activity should start by the end of this week. The fibre route has not been proven yet. The DSLAM is stood and powered. ECD for build completion is mid-September but we are pushing for the earliest completion.”

As soon as I have spoken to Openreach I will provide a further (hopefully more detailed) response.

Kind regards,
Owen Williams
Business Support Projects & Training team
Supporting Lincolnshire Broadband Programme
Lincolnshire County Council
Tel: 01522 552296

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 25 August 2016 11:56
To: Owen Williams
Subject: RE: Urgent update for Nocton please

Hi Owen,

Thank you for your quick response – and good luck with the ‘Change Request’ contractual issues. Why is nothing involving the BT behemoth, easy – no need to comment on that one!

I look forward to getting more detail regarding our ongoing situation in Nocton in due course.

Try and have a restful weekend to counter the pressures of public service. I can empathise with you given my previous employment prior to retirement.

Best regards,

From: Owen Williams
Sent: 26 August 2016 12:59
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: RE: Urgent update for Nocton please

Hi Geoff,

I spoke to the Openreach manager yesterday evening, he stated there wasn’t a resource issue/contractor confusion and that work on cabling & jointing should start today, if you don’t notice any activity today please let me know and I was (will) get Steve to escalate on his return (Tuesday 30th). ECD remains mid-September as per the update from Openreach, is (if) this is achieve(d) commission should be complete and services available by the end of September.

Also thank you for you(r) kind words, and have a good bank holiday weekend yourself.

Kind regards,

Project Update - Week ending 26th August 2016

Metheringham 3/2 (Nocton) - Needs external fibre provision and the Exchange to be completed; cabling & jointing to start early next week; if there are no civils/traffic management issues build will be complete within a fortnight; commissioning to follow.

26th August (pm) - Telec Utilities - cabling and jointing Pillar 3/2 with PCP17 
PCP 17 - the open cabinet showing mounting columns and connectors
Open access duct near Post Office - the enormity of the job
 to connect the new cabinet

BT Openreach - instructional videos
  1. Introducing the next generation PCP features
  2. Installing the mounting columns
  3. Installing the connectors
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'In an open letter to Gavin Patterson, the three UK-based companies said they welcomed BT’s commitment to engaging in the debate but stressed that the “service Openreach provides today is unacceptable and must improve”.'

TalkTalk Group

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'Demand better internet for Britain's communities'


  1. Credit where credit is due, the two Telec engineers worked all through Saturday connecting Pillar 3/2 with PCP17... and were still at it at 5.30pm during the heavy rain and thunderstorm. Now that's what I call dedication from the two lads concerned.

  2. The Telec guys have been working all Sunday and the Bank Holiday too in order to connect all lines into the new cabinet PCP17.


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