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

From: Stephen Brookes [mailto:Stephen.Brookes@lincolnshire.gov.uk]
Sent: 26 October 2016 07:31
To: Geoff Hall; Eaton Fallows
Cc: Ian K McEwan; Steve E Henderson; Naomi Nutting; Owen Williams
Subject: RE: Broadband - Nocton

Good Morning Geoff,

Please accept my apologies for the ongoing delay which is now beyond embarrassing to LCC.
I feel I should clarify LCC's position on this one as I have to confess to getting more and more disappointed with the level of service we still haven't provided to Nocton.

CR22 was issued in June and the Impact Assessment should have been returned within a month, unless there were exceptional circumstances that elongated this timescale. In this case, there weren't any. The decision to amalgamate into the bigger CR was taken much later.

With regards to the comments on Metheringham 17. It was declared 'RFS' on 20th September and the process then allows two weeks before it becomes 'CRFS' (available to ISPs). To date, residents still can't order from ISPs.


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


  1. Geoff, not sure if you have seen the BT Van just up from the Post Office today but they appeared to be handling more large cables.. Not sure if this has any link to your Change Request 22.. Can't imagine the wheels have turned so rapidly to get things moving this quickly. Regards, Nick J-D

  2. Hi Nick. Thanks for the info - it is indeed the work relating to the CR22. I had an email from Ian McEwan at BT Openreach early today, about 8.10am, to say his lads were already on site to do the work. He had also rearranged his other commitments for the day so he could attend personally. I met with him about 1.00pm and had a good chat about things - it appears he has agreed with Steve Brookes to get on with the job and they will sort out all the paperwork after with BT Group. It will take a couple of weeks or so now to sort the records for the lines involved and then our individual ISPs will be able to offer us a fibre service. Super news... but I better not speak too soon!

  3. Hi Geoff,
    That's promising news, does this mean that all the remaining properties on Main Street (including my own - Embsay cottage) will have access to Superfast broadband finally ?
    Kind Regards, Jim

    1. Hi Jim. The work relates to all consumer lines linked to the pole DP108 next to the bus stop. I had a walk up the road earlier tonight and this includes your line. The lobbying may finally be coming to an end. Hopefully within the next few weeks we should be able to upgrade. Kind regards.

  4. Great news Geoff, many thanks for all your hard work and lobbying. It's been a long struggle but persistence has finally paid off.

  5. I am delighted there has been movement on this at last after incredibly poor treatment we have received. Thank you, Geoff, for your persistence. I met with the County Council officer in charge, Stephen Brookes again today in public, so perhaps knowing that was coming up was also a helpful prompt.

    It is incredible just how bad BDUK can be. The £40m of public money for 157,000 dwellings has a £12m underspend, so the cost was over-estimated by almost a third. That remains committed to the contract, now in phase 2. It seems they have also tried to spend the money in areas that already have good broadband in order to compete with Virgin, so LCC has had to be vigilant. Public money is only intended to provide a service where it would not otherwise be economically viable.

    Worse, there is no systematic way of us checking what level of service the 157,000 homes are actually receiving, so how can we hold them to their contract of providing 90% superfast broadband by 31st March 2016? The remaining 10% should be on 2Mb/s by the end of 2015 via alternative technologies.

    They talk about "premises passed" rather than premises actually able to access 24Mb/s. This depends on the BT copper wires from the box to our homes being in good order. Also "contention" of more people using the fibres slows it down, commonly to 15Mb/s. Europe is going for 30Mb/s. BDUK denies reducing the space available for old systems, slowing down what we had before. BT have a Universal obligation to get 10Mb/s everywhere in project 2, ending this year.

    There is £18m still to spend and technology is overtaking us with EE promising to provide 4G or 5G. However, I gather they need fibre of fixed wireless in place.

    The BDUK contract was set up by the government and signed by the Executive at County, but the contract was said to be largely written by BDUK themselves and is described as having "no teeth".

    I requested the commissioning of smaller contracts with alternative suppliers using new technologies asap. I also asked for an investigation into how we could systematically assess what premises are receiving, so we could start to hold BDUK and BT to account. If individuals can evidence poor levels over time, we could take that up. There are also some £350 grants available from LCC, which we spoke about before. Thanks, Geoff for all your hard work. you have been brilliant. I hope our combined efforts are fruitful shortly!


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