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UPD2 Fibre Ownership Dispute Knocks 300 People Offline in Rural Lincolnshire

Monday, Jun 11th, 2012 (8:29 am) - Score 1,210

The seemingly endless fallout from April’s collapse of NextGenUs UK CIC (NGU), which supplied several rural communities with broadband before a mess of managerial and financial mishaps sent it into administration (here), appears to be continuing after a dispute over ownership of a vital fibre optic cable resulted in two Lincolnshire villages being cut off from the internet.

This latest dispute, which is believed to be impacting approximately 300 connections in the North Kesteven villages of Ashby de la Launde and Digby (including RAF Digby), centres around the ownership of a fibre optic cable that is used to supply a DVV site. This houses the Network Termination Point (NTP) and provides the base for beaming a WiMAX wireless broadband service to the surrounding areas.

Connexin should have acquired the related Hull and Lincoln network assets from NextGenUs’s administrator last April 2012, although some of this now appears to be in dispute after a new company was setup – RhinoFibre – that claims to have gained the related backhaul fibre contract from Virgin Media on 31st May 2012.

On 7th June RhinoFibre (MD Steven Harvey) began demanding “immediate payment from Connexin Ltd (as Connexin Ltd is taking payment from its customers for a feed that RhinoFibre Ltd is paying for)” and, after no payment had been received by 5pm of that same day, it appears to have suddenly taken the “difficult decision to disconnect the backhaul feed and remove the Virgin Media router from the DVV after finding the cabinet insecure (not for the 1st time) until its able to secure the feed and receive payment for use of the feed from Connexin Ltd.“.

Much of the related equipment appears to be owned by Virgin Media and BT. Connexin deny that RhinoFibre own the backhaul, while both Virgin Media and BT are said to be moving to fix the problem and replace the affected equipment. A related article on Thisislincolnshire last week confirmed that the Lincolnshire Police had also begun an investigation.

Lincolnshire Police Statement

We can confirm that a theft of electrical equipment has been reported from an address in Heath Road in Ashby de la Launde and investigations are ongoing.”

Both Connexin and RhinoFibre appear to have links back to the NextGenUs situation. Unfortunately, once again, residents and local businesses are paying the price for what would be an almost farcical situation if it wasn’t so serious.

UPDATE 12th June 2012

Police claim that their investigation of the related equipment “theft” is no longer an active criminal case as the situation is now “believed to be a civil matter“. Meanwhile RhinoFibre has begun offering their own broadband service to local villagers, whom are persistently being treated like little more than ping pong balls between different operators.

UPDATE 13th June 2012

Connexin’s Furqan Alamgir informs ISPreview.co.uk that the ISP has “restored service to the ashby and digby villages“. A further statement has also been issued.

Connexin Statement

We apologise for all the inconvenience users have experienced over the last 4 days. This was caused by issues beyond our control and we along side Virgin Media, BT and the Police are looking in to them.

Whilst we did get the entire network online at around 7pm on 12/6/12 we found that within half and hour the service went down again. This was due to an attack on the network which we believe to be coming from the RAF base. We have taken steps to keep the RAF base radios offline in the interest of network security.

This is a temporary measure which we have had to take as we investigate, trace the source details which we will pass on to the police. We will have engineers in Digby tomorrow working on this as we wish to resolve things as a matter of urgency. We apologise to those affected.

We have been attempting to get a comment from BT but have so far received no response to our hails.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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