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BT Expect “Majority” of Future Fibre Rollout in Northumberland to Use FTTP

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 (5:37 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 1,368)
mole_plough_bt

Mole ploughs to fishing rods, those are just some of the methods that Openreach (BT) have been using to roll-out “high-speed fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) across Northumberland. The operator has today also revealed that 1Gbps capable FTTPwill make up the vast majority” of their future deployment.

At present the iNorthumberland project, which is supported by the local council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme, has already expanded their ‘up to’ 80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) dominated network to an additional 150,000 premises in the county (i.e. 580 street cabinets and 1700km of fibre); this includes 2,500 premises that have been delivered via their Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) tech.

The result is that over 90% of local homes and businesses can now access a “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) network (95%+ if you include the sub-24Mbps “fibre” footprint) and around 7,000 extra premises are currently being added through additional contracts / extensions (details). The good news is that the “vast majority” of the remaining work should benefit from ultrafast FTTP.

One of the reasons for that has to do with how much of the remaining deployment consists of sparsely-populated rural areas, as well as national parks, ponds full of great crested newts and areas of archaeological significance (e.g. Hadrian’s Wall and Berwick Bridge). All of these things can create delays and increasingly the operator has been finding that FTTP is now the “best solution to reach remote and scattered communities.”

Mike Reynolds, Openreach Spokesperson for the North East, said:

“All the things that make Northumberland such an incredible place to live and work are also the things that make this roll-out difficult. In a large town or city a new fibre cabinet can be relatively simple to build and can provide services to hundreds of people. In Northumberland a cabinet can take months of planning followed by months of civil engineering and the end result may only be providing faster broadband to a handful of people. But for those people it’s absolutely vital this work takes place.

In most areas, we try to take advantage of our existing underground network wherever possible, but often in Northumberland there’s no existing network where we need it, so we have to start from scratch. On country lanes this frequently involves traffic management or road closures and in very remote locations getting power to the new fibre cabinets can be extremely challenging.

In the most rural communities we began changing our approach and we’re increasingly using Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) ultrafast broadband technology, where fibre travels direct to the property without the need for a fibre cabinet. Thanks to innovations in equipment and creative planning this technology is now available to more than 2,500 homes and businesses in Northumberland and will make up the vast majority of the future roll-out.”

Apparently some of the locations expected to benefit from this ultrafast broadband technology, which can deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps (more affordable domestic connections currently only go up to 330Mbps), include Wooperton, Hepple, Chathill, Guyzance and areas around Slaley and Bardon Mill.

It’s refreshing to hear Openreach talking about FTTP in such a positive tone, which appears to highlight an on-going shift in their strategy. Indeed until recently BT were still very much focused on deploying their cheaper and slower FTTC technology, but times are changing.

Last month BT even began hinting that their planned deployment of FTTP to 2 million UK premises by 2020 (i.e. mostly new build homes and businesses) could potentially be expanded to 10 million by around 2025, albeit somewhat depending upon the position of rival ISPs, Government and of course favourable market regulation from Ofcom (here).

On the other hand it remains to be seen whether this change in strategy will affect the operator’s other BDUK based contracts across the United Kingdom. Northumberland has already had quite a bit of FTTP via the BDUK programme and so it’s perhaps somewhat of a unique case, but we’d be happy to see more of the same in other parts of the UK.

Elsewhere the operator has highlighted how they’re making use of new engineering equipment, such as Mole Ploughing that can be used to dig channels in soft unsurfaced areas such as grass verges (i.e. it digs a trench, lays a ready-made fibre filled duct and then closes the trench all in one). We’ve seen some smaller community FTTP/H deployments use this a lot.

On top of that a “stronger, pre-prepared cable” has also been developed, which can be pushed through existing cable ducts, clearing minor blockages as it goes (i.e. saving time and the need to re-build damaged sections of existing duct). Engineers also have the option of using overhead fibre cables and tackling hard ground with rock hammers, which enable telegraph poles to be erected in locations where previously it would have been very difficult. As a more unorthodox example, Openreach even used a fishing rod to get fibre across the River Till at Crookham.

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38 Responses
  1. NGA for all

    Good to see. The budget were made available for this purpose. The costs were no way close to the attempts at portraying them in 2012. I hope Ofcom do a full ‘true up’ as part of the WLA consultation to confirm the presence of a uniform scale of investment by BT consistent with the pricing proposals being put forward.

  2. Steve Jones

    What change of strategy? FTTP was always going to play an increasing role where FTTC was not suitable due to lower population density and scattered populations. As I understood it the strategy was to use FTTC as the more cost-effective option where viable as it enabled more properties to be

    Of course as money made from savings (in part through the used of FTTC) and through the operation of gainshare comes in for reinvestment then an increasing proportion will be FTTP. That’s surely no different to what happened in Cornwall.

    Of course once the initial BDUK stages are complete, it’s up to the local BDUK project to decide whether to reinvest money from underspend and gainshare. I’d expect more of those extension projects to include a larger proportion of FTTP albeit at higher cost per premises.

    • The change of strategy remark is more a reflection of the recent hints towards 10 million premises passed via FTTP becoming a possibility, rather than smaller token deployments via BDUK. Since the Strategic Review we’ve noticed a marked increase in praise / mentions of FTTP from BT, which is in stark contrast to previous years.

      Back in mid-2013 and onwards nobody at Openreach wanted to talk about FTTP being part of their future plans in any kind of big way and the original roll-out was effectively put on ice (prior to 2013 there was always talk of doing 2.5 million premises). We were always being rebuffed and effectively told to forgot about it, the focus was all FTTC.. and FTTP was going nowhere. That’s what we were told, countless times, in one way or another.

      So yes, IMO Openreach potentially doing 10 million via FTTP would be a pretty big change of strategy. Until now it’s mostly been FTTC and G.fast with the dominant focus. Very interested to see how this develops.

    • Steve Jones

      Certainly 10m FTTP premises would be an astonishing change, but there seem to be a lot of caveats. It also seems to be very “off-record”. I’ll await formal announcements as it seems a stretch to go from a story about Northumberland BDUK to something rather more wide spread.

      The 2M I have a lot more confidence in as it’s been formally announced as an aspiration and I can see how it would work with a combination of new builds, existing and planned BDUK work and some limited FTTP uplifts.

    • NGA for all

      @JOnes AS late as the CMS Inquiry last year, BT MD’s gave oral evidence to Parliament that FTTC cost £500 a premise passed. They were then asked to clarify in writing and they managed to half the cost. This was then contradicted by further written evidence on cabinet costs showing an average for phase 1 at £26,000. £500 at 200 premises is a £100k cab, which was a number regularly used by Clive Selley’s predecessor.

      More FTTP was not inevitable, it is still not the case as BT execs continue to game costs and capital at the expense of the country’s infrastructure. The relationship between the £446m capital accrual and claimed increases in OR Capital expenditure will be interesting to unpick. The accrual is about half the claimed accumulated increase, and we have yet to reconcile BT capital contribution for the BDUK work.

      FoD (FTTP-GPON variant) was promised in every exchange by the end of 2014, it is the BT PLc transcripts for q4 -2013-14.

      The public intervention is worth it just to prove that the fibre upgrades are proving to be about half what BT was wishing to portray them to be. This creates its own challenges and the case on FTTP is yet to be proved, but it is looking positive with so much more to come.

    • AndyH

      @ NGA

      You really are a broken record with the same rhetoric.

      BT never stated that is cost £500 per premises passed – it was the value of the contract, not the actual cost of the deployment! Here’s what was submitted to the CMS:

      7.3 BT indicated during the evidence session that average cost of passing a premises was approximately £500 using the broad totals for the programme (see Q237). At this stage in the programme, using the latest actual expenditure figures available, could BT confirm what the average cost is for passing a premises?

      The total Government funded programme (including Cornwall and Northern Ireland ) over the lifetime of the signed contracts has a total public funding of £1.550m and BT spend of £910M (set out in more detail in the resulting in a total cost for these contracts of £2.5bn to deliver to 5m premises, ie, £2.5Bn for 5m premises = £500 per premises. However, this figure includes the costs to BT of operating, running and maintaining the resultant networks over the lifetime of the contract. Thus the actual cost to just build the network is slightly less if we remove these operating costs with a figure of around £400 per premise averaged across the whole public funded build.

      For the BDUK contract builds up to September last year, it has cost £905m to get to c.3.9m premises, ie, a lower value per premises of around £230 per premises reflecting the focus on lower cost, fast to deploy premises first in the programme. Of the total spend to date on BDUK, BT has contributed £276m with the remaining £629m reclaimed from BDUK.”

      The remaining 1.1m premises to get the overall 5 million current planned total are expected to cost £1bn ( or approximately £879 per premises) as we have completed the cheapest premises first. These remaining premises are planned to include a much large percentage of FTTP connections than the current build that will be reflected in the cost.

      Of course more FTTP was inevitable and BT stated this time and time again. With the BDUK projects, you want to deploy superfast speeds to as many people as possible as quickly as you can. This is common sense. You don’t start with FTTP, which takes a significant amount of time and manpower to deploy, and then move on to mass FTTC.

      FoD was never “promised in every exchange by the end of 2014”. You have completely taken what was said out of context.

    • NGA for all

      @AndyH Your attempting to re-write history and the chronology. Quote the oral evidence to the Select Committee for the £500 (beginning page 10 q237 of the proceedings – Williams and Mears) not the subsequent response attempting to correct the what looks a mis-direction. The attempt to correct the oral evidence is then contradicted with even lower costs stated in 30597.pdf a different but welcome submission to the same inquiry.

      On FoD Q4 2013-14 BT plc transcripts are clear. The part reversal on FTTP is still in progress.
      What has BT promised the Wales PAC in September 2016? What does the public record state?

    • AndyH

      @ NGA – Are you for real?

      Sean Mears states [i]The total contracted expenditure across all the subsidised contracts is expected to be about £2.5 billion, including BT’s contribution. The total number of premises that we are expecting to cover is between 4 and 5 million.[/i]

      He [b]does not[/b] state anywhere that this is the actual deployment cost. It’s the value of the contracts signed between BT and the LAs. If there are savings and/or clawback, then this is reinvested or returned.

      It’s not rocket science here.

      As for the FoD, it’s available at all exchanges where there is NGA presence. It’s a bespoke product and does not show up on the checker for all exchanges.

    • TheFacts

      @NGA – FoD was promised. What were the exact words, link please? A company can change it’s plans.

      Still waiting for you to show LAs have an issue with BT capital contribution.

    • DTMark

      While I don’t have a link to an article, I do clearly remember that during the BDUK project(s) – one of them or more than one – the objection to VDSL being a highly limited short-term technology with performance that drops sharply over distance were countered and believed satisfied because customers with poor speeds would be able to order “fibre on demand”.

      For that to have been the case in the BDUK programmes, FoD would have to have been priced according to the project requirements. While perhaps at a small premium, it could not have, for instance, involved the customer having to pay thousands because it would not then qualify.

      Things went ahead, objections satisfied, but FoD never did materialise, indeed it was withdrawn.

      Clearly someone misunderstood. (Or understood correctly but failed to get BT to sign something written down?)

      Whether that’s me, BDUK or the local authorities could be solved by a trawl through the news archives, perhaps.

    • NGA for all

      @andyH Here is the exchange and Sean Williams states an average and question around this was how much BT had paid.
      Q237 Nigel Huddleston: What kind of range are we talking about then in terms of— Sean Williams: Premises passed? It is a big range. The average is—
      Nigel Huddleston: I get that it is a big range. I am trying to get a figure here: is it £5, is it £50, is it £500, is it £5,000?
      Sean Williams: It is in the order of hundreds of pounds. The total contracted expenditure across all the subsidised contracts is expected to be about £2.5 billion, including BT’s contribution. The total number of premises that we are expecting to cover is between 4 and 5 million—
      Kim Mears: Yes, 4.8 million. Sean Williams: —so you can calculate that it is about £500 per premise passed.
      Even as programme cost it is mis-leading and deeply so. This was then altered twice, once in the letter quoted and again in the note quoting the cost per cab.
      Scottish Futures Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government says the capital needs checking. Their response in the NGA cost modelling consultation.
      The broken record needs to continue as the £446m capital needs to keep climbing until the capital contribution is fully reported on.

    • NGA for all

      @andyH On page 5 of this http://senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s55753/PAC5-09-16%20P5%20-%20WG%20Broadband%20Update_e.pdf you will note BT positioning of FOD to deliver FTTP in Wales.

    • I presume NGA4All is aware that Northumberland is not in Wales, and just because this undertaking exists in one project does not mean it exists in all of them, ie. contract details are specific to each one.

      Do see the odd FoD connection via the usual Spectrum Internet or FluidOne but that volume is drawfed by the roll-out of GEA-FTTP in Wales, which should double if contract figure of 85,000 is delivered ie. head towards the 4 to 4.5% area.

    • MikeW

      It is such fun watching all this muddled thinking going on. Yet BT keep on passing people, BDUK projects keep paying them money for doing so, takeup keeps increasing, and BT allocates more money for clawback.

      There are millions of people who now have NGA broadband available to them who can rest assured that the rollout continues without waiting for @NGA’s numbers to be audited.

    • MikeW

      @DTmark

      Wales was the one project that had references to ultrafast (or 100Mbps specifically), which explains why FoD was more available in Welsh exchanges when it wasn’t elsewhere.

      In other places, any reference to FoD (or just spare fibre) is really toward “future capability”, rather than being available now for long lines. I haven’t seen anything that implies FoD needs to be available anytime soon, other than Wales.

      Being withdrawn doesn’t really make much difference to “future capability”, provided the withdrawal isn’t permanent.

    • DTMark

      @NGA for all – that document seems clear and matches my recollection. Thought it might have been Wales.

      FoD was to be an integral part of the Welsh BDUK project so as to attain 40% able to get 100Mbps.

      For it to qualify as a BDUK solution, it has to come in at a certain price, which was something like install of no more than £120 and no more than £30 per month.

      So, 40% of Wales can now get FTTP for these prices to get 100Meg, yes?

      Or has the Welsh BDUK project failed to meet the objectives in much the same way as all of the others?

      Why is nobody accountable for this failure? When is the failure due to be rectified and what penalties have been levied?

    • AndyH

      @ DTMark – It was never written in the contract that the 40% being able to access 100Mbps+ could do so for a certain, low-cost price. This isn’t a BDUK solution for coverage, it was a supplementary clause to allow people in the intervention area access to higher speeds.

      If you can show some document stating otherwise, then I’m all ears but you won’t find it. Don’t you think if BT had to provide FoD for a certain cost and weren’t doing so, then politicians and the media would be berating BT? It would be a contractual breach amongst many things.

    • TheManStan

      @NGA

      You do know the meaning of “expected”?

      An expected cost may not actually be incurred… which in this case is true, so your “£500” quote IS out of context both in the document you quote and actuality.

      Stop focusing on the numbers, read and understand the facts in the context in which they are given…

    • NGA for all

      MikeW – your correct, progress is good but the resources existed (£1.7bn + BT’s 30%) to include c15% FTTP in-fill. If the scrutiny is maintained a great more is possible. As a point of interest the c300k rural FTTP connections is amazing and unique and shows what is possible. The addition of another £121m to the capital accrual was three times the spend on BDUK in the quarter.

      Unfortunately no monies above the initial £130m are being used to plan more.

      The really big prize is proving this is so cheap(relatively) there is a national advantage to be had if the goal is pursued for a more thorough upgrade.

      FoD – or in its original form affordable fibre extensions necessary for in-fill were a generic requirement. There in sched2 of the BDUK requirements. OR also announced universal availability in May 2013-14. It is in the PLC transcripts.

    • NGA for all

      @TheManStan I beg to differ. The context was a Parliamentary Select committee attempting to understand the rollout and the costs of doing so. BT initially volunteered this £500 a premise, then in written answers suggested a figure if c£260 a premise and in a different written submission said a phase 1 cabinet was £26,000 which if we divide by 200 premises provides a figure of £130 per premise. It is not clear whether BT has paid the expected 1/3 of the latter.

      And you wonder why Parliament gets frustrated and calls for the breakup of BT?

      EFRA SC will hopefully take up the charge on this with a view to getting some of the £446m capital deferral to date re-allocated to the most rural counties.

      Why game ‘expected’ costs when the ‘actual’ costs are available to be reviewed by these executives every week or should be, and if used we could have more informed debate on B USO while the capital deferral and underspends were put to productive use.

    • DTMark

      “Fibre on Demand”, we could just call this “fibre”, could be seen as a premium product with faster speeds for those willing to pay.

      Alternatively it could be seen as an enabler for the Welsh government to be able to hit the target availability of superfast (but slower) speeds. That’s what I’ve inferred from this, perhaps incorrectly.

      While the network configuration is such that to get fibre you have to be connected to a VDSL cabinet this doesn’t imply that you’d have a VDSL option e.g. that the VDSL cabinet is near enough to provide superfast or indeed anything.

    • NGA for all

      @DT Mark there is gap between where BT plan FTTP as native and the extension product which in 2014 began mimicking the delivery of an EAD circuit. Rental went from sub £40 to c£100pm while the connection fee more than doubled changing the nature of the 2013 product.

      The penny has yet to drop that if the capital deferral of £446m is not to be handed back to Gov, then a fibre extension product supporting multiple customers, in terms of demand aggregation (min 4 customers per splitter installed) needs to be brought to market, which takes us back closer to the 2013 product and the native FTTP where in cost recovery terms, even today is treated the same as copper, because it uses the same passive components and has fewer active components.

      FTTP native has no premium, it is just a fibre path facility rather than a ‘metal path facility’. The difficulty with FoD it is bound by a doctrine that fibre must have a premium, hence it started mimicking the cost of single EAD. The 75% discounts on FoD trials show that the components could also be used to support ‘native’ FTTP.

      The significance of BDUK funded FTTP in very rural is that there is no premium and apart from a variable connection charge they is no particular need for a premium. Incentives are needed to change but you can tweak the cost recovery regime on copper which currently assumes replacement costs, although very little replacement occurs.

    • TheManStan

      No you are gaming, by selecting what was said over what was considered and factually submitted in writing.

      Little wonder we have such difficulty with much of what you say, you selectively choose weak information over that which is supportable…

    • NGA for all

      @THeManstan – no sir, reconcile the three numbers used by BT in its evidence and tell us which is to be used. This is the evidence BT chooses to communicate with Parliament and it is contradictory.

    • AndyH

      @ NGA

      “BT initially volunteered this £500 a premise”

      Do you really not understand how BT came up with this number? It’s as clear as water to me. The BDUK contracts were worth £2.5bn, to cover between 4-5 million premises. This comes to cca. £500 per premises. BT clearly state that this is not the actual build cost (which can vary substantially).

      As always, your arguments are self-defeating. You use numbers completely out of their context to support your ‘arguments’. You’ve accused BT of major fraud relating to their investments in fibre, yet not a single politician, journalist or government official has made similar accusations. I wonder why….

    • NGA for all

      @andyH I am glad it is as clear as water to you, but it is totally misleading against the actuals incurred and revealed later. There is a big difference between £500 a premise passed and £130 a premise passed in the three bits of evidence.

      Understanding the one number is not the task, understanding why three different attempts were needed to get a number closer to the truth ought to be explained.

      In moving from £500 a premise passed to the £130, then there is every reason to seek the location of BT’s capital contribution, given the £500 bore no relationship to the underlying cost for phase 1 or phase 2.

    • MikeW

      @NGA
      “but the resources existed (£1.7bn + BT’s 30%) to include c15% FTTP in-fill.”

      You might well be correct. It might turn out to have been perfectly possible, in hindsight, knowing the takeup figures we know now.

      But (as you’ve been told before), choosing to follow such a plan (at the time of planning) goes beyond the specification for BDUK.

      BDUK is all about getting 25Mbps (or 30Mbps) to as many people as possible, as cheaply as possible. With unspent money going back to government, and excess profit being shared and the government’s portion returned as clawback.

      There is no requirement that says: “If there turns out to be spare money, spend it on FTTP instead of FTTC.”

      The cheap-as-possible requirement, essentially, forces FTTC to everywhere that is possible, including infill, leaving FTTP left-out as much as possible. FTTP as a last resort, almost.

      If, when we look back at BDUK with 20:20 hindsight, it turns out that more FTTP was possible, and FTTC turned out to be cheaper than expected, then BDUK’s response is to say: “Keep handing the money back to government”.

      Keep wishing for more FTTP. But don’t expect BDUK to be the vehicle that delivers it out of choice.

    • NGA for all

      @MikeW technically not the case. Mixed economy solution promised and specified, you can see in the budgets in the NAO docs from 2013. Clause 21 of the SA33671 says no urban, yet at least 20% of phase 1 became urban in-fill a direct substitution of BT commercial investment at the expense of rural.
      There are clauses referenced by BT saying there is obligation on both parties to go as far as possible.
      With due attention it can all be fixed, but in-suffient FTTP is being planned and too much money resting in BT’s accounts and there is no discernible record of BT’s capital contribution.
      It is about getting the best outcome possible from a once in a generation public investment.
      At least you are drawing some amusement from it.

  3. DTMark

    ‘a “stronger, pre-prepared cable” has also been developed, which can be pushed through existing cable ducts, clearing minor blockages’

    Forgive my ignorance but aren’t the cables pulled through by attaching them to some kind of draw cable left in place from the last cable installation, or, by severing an unused pair and attaching it to the new one(s) then pulling both through and restoring the unused pair connection?

    • CarlT

      As far as I’m aware draw cables aren’t left behind, and given all the pairs to a property are usually in the same cable it would be tricky to take an unused pair out and use them to pull a new cable.

      I presume Openreach know their network better than we do and would not resort to these measures if they didn’t have to.

      Of course, if Ofcom weren’t so fixated on LLU and allowed BT to replace copper with fibre that would make things considerably easier through using the existing copper to draw the fibre through the duct.

    • Peter

      @Carl
      I’ve seen a broken BT clay duct locally where a standard blue polypropylene cord/rope was inside alongside the various multi-pair cables
      Clearly left in to facilitate future work.
      Indeed exactly as I do when I’m installing flexi-ducts round the garden/to shed etc….always leave a draw cord inside.

    • CarlT

      Thanks. I thought Mark was talking about customer drops rather than ‘larger’ ducts carrying bigger cables. I would very much hope those have draw cables in them.

    • MikeW

      I suspect the “stronger pre-prepared cable” is a reference to the cabling that BT mentioned for the NGA2 trials, with connectorised cables.

      I think “pre-prepared” could be a reference to a kind of peelable cable, where the outer jacket is suitable for outdoor environments (UV-resistant), but not indoors (smoke hazard?). The rules of switching to low-smoke cables for indoors is why BT had a splice-tray at the entry-point.

      With the newer “peelable” cable, I think BT keep the outer jacket on for the outdoor portion , then peel it off to leave a low-smoke inner for the indoor portion. Result: no need to splice the cable at entry. But it also suggests that the reference to this cable is for the final drop.

      The “stronger” part might be a reference to the Corning SST cable, which was also mentioned in the connectorised trials. When I last looked, these cables came with extra strength members that would help allow the cable to be pushed through blockages. This form of cable looked more likely to be used from the splitter out to the DP, where it is pre-terminated within the DP to connectors for the “connectorised” design. It also comes in a drop-cable form, but with too many fibres (in ribbons) for use in the UK.

      For the NGA trials, BT said that there’s a lot of cost to digging for blocked ducts … so the aim was that the “stronger” cable would be able to push through minor blockages much more cheaply. However, with them saying that, it does imply there is nothing left in the duct to simply pull the cable through a blockage … or that it isn’t enough to get through even a minor blockage.

    • MikeW

      Neil MacRae talking about connectorised fibre, though it is 2 years old now:
      https://youtu.be/LLpk2dz6nBQ?t=582

      TBB’s blog on the trials at Haydon Wick:
      http://blog.thinkbroadband.com/2016/06/a-peek-at-the-future-world-of-openreach-fttp/

  4. Optimist

    Does this mean an end to the unsightly overhead lines and poles which blight most areas?

    Some years after I switched to Virgin Media (supplied by underground cable), the unused BTOR overhead line to my property came loose as a result, I think, of an argument between a vehicle and a lamppost outside my house close to the wire. I contacted BTOR to remove the line which they did quite quicky when I pointed out that if the wire fell down and injured someone BTOR might face a lawsuit.

    The sooner these hideous eyesores are replaced, the better.

    • No, every area needs its own unique approach. In a lot of areas it’s often easier and cheaper for an operator to sling cables over a pole than to put them underground, which can sometimes mean the difference between an area getting good broadband or being left with poor connectivity for several more years.

      Personally I’ve never been that fussed about telegraph poles getting in the way of things (our home is connected by one) and would rather have a good broadband connection.

    • CarlT

      As long as you’re willing to pay for it I am sure it can be done. Those not so bothered by the aesthetics of overhead plant may object to paying for its replacement because some people consider it a blight.

      The people of Japan, North America and the many other areas throughout the world where telecommunications plant tends to be overground, in many cases with vastly superior networks to ours thanks to the cost savings, don’t seem too bothered.

      Given Virgin Media’s predecessors went bankrupt or into bankruptcy protection due in a large part to the costs of deploying underground they are perhaps not a great example.

  5. great photo, this method is not new we have been doing it for bt over 25 years,

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