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BT FTTP Rollout in Dolphinholme Continues Following B4RN Spat

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 (9:43 am) - Score 2,340

Residents of Dolphinholme village in Lancashire report that BT’s engineers have returned to resume their state aid fuelled deployment of 330Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology in the area, which is despite B4RN’s community funded 1000Mbps FTTP service being deployed to homes on one of the exact same streets.

The on-off dispute began last year after the community supported B4RN project claimed that Dolphinholme had been part of their deployment plan since 2011. But the Lancashire County Council refused to acknowledge this as part of their Open Market Reviews (OMR) and instead allowed BT to continue their rival FTTP deployment under the Superfast Lancashire project, thus circumventing EU State Aid rules that prevent overbuilding.

A spokesperson for BTOpenreach told ISPreview.co.uk earlier this year, “BT is currently planning to roll out FTTP to Dolphinholme as part of our partnership with Lancashire County Council to extend fibre to 97 per cent of premises by the end of 2015 using a mix of fibre technologies. Our fibre roll-out in the area should come as no surprise as our plans have been in the public domain for several months.

However BT’s deployment appeared to stall after LCC offered an olive branch to B4RN by proposing (spring 2014) that the postcodes for Dolphinholme and some other areas might be removed from the LCC SFBB contract with BT (here), thus if BT had wished to continue then they’d need to do so commercially. But the proposal wasn’t very confident and clear about precisely which areas would be fully de-scoped and so B4RN rejected the list in the hope of seeking greater clarity. Since then not much progress has been made.

In the meantime BT’s presence in Dolphinholme appeared to shrink until the area had effectively become quiet for all except B4RN’s deployment, at least that was the case until last week when Openreach contractors were spotted working on the road for Corless Cottages (centre of the village); this seemed to involve deploying new fibre optic cables to local telegraph poles (pictured above). The engineers were also proudly hanging a placard saying the work is supported by the EU, UK and LCC (public investment via Superfast Lancashire).

Comically B4RN’s volunteers are currently working to connect some of the same cottages, but from the rear since they can’t come in from the front as doing so would need access to the highway (more costly / complicated to arrange). Officially BT hasn’t not been told to stop, although at a certain point one has to question why public money is being used in an area where private investment is already working to upgrade.

A B4RN Representitive said:

It’s frustrating to see them expend tax payers money on an area that is quite clearly well progressed and engaged in another plan, when areas such as Glasson Dock have been omitted from the roll out.”

Not that B4RN are terribly worried about all this because their strong history of direct community funding and engagement means that locals often assist in building the network and thus feel incentivised to take B4RN’s service, which has helped to produce take-up figures that would turn the eyes of some rivals rich with envy.

As Barry Forde recently told us, “If we look at properties along the routes fully completed we have an average of over 65% registrations for connections but many routes, especially the more remote ones, are at or close to 100% take-up. The more urbanised ones tend to be around 50-60% take-up.”

Meanwhile Dolphinholme’s locals might well soon benefit from becoming one of the very few locations in the UK where it’s now possible to select from a choice of two truly independent fibre optic networks.

Leave a Comment
75 Responses
  1. Well, given the choice of provider I know which one I would go for – and it would NOT be BT!

    Putting aside the blatant misuse of public funds to overbuild an area already getting fibre, the business case for doing it must also surely be pants given that they will get very low take up.

    Personally, I think that the council muppets are the ones that should be made to pay for this fiasco. BT is merely abusing its dominant market position, which is just what one would expect of it as a large commercial company. The council should be above such games – but I guess not!

    1. GNewton says:

      This is just one of many examples of how the BDUK funds are being misused.

      Here down in Essex we have seen in quite few cases how Essex CC, using taxpayer money, is implementing FTTC/P in areas which already have nextgen broadband.

      Scrap the BDUK, stop wasting taxpayer’s money.

    2. TheFacts says:

      Any examples?

    3. fastman2 says:

      Gnewton — which areas in essex as id love to know if you can actually find any – or could it be that the LA or some LA’s are trying to give public money to providers withour any procurement

    4. No Clue says:

      I can give you an example of BT overbuilding in essex. Take Harlow, Take the postcode CM19 4BX which is almost slap bang in the middle of Harlow and is covered by the BDUK.
      Then go to
      enter that postcode there

      OPPPS Virgin already do 152Mb to that area no need to waste the tax payers money on BT and that area.

    5. GNewton says:

      @No Clue: Some of the already existing nextgen wirelessly serviced areas are now being covered again with taxpayer-funded BDUK competition in Essex. Also, as you pointed out, some Virgin-media covered areas are covered again by BDUK VDSL serices, I am thinking of parts of Colchester.

    6. TheFacts says:

      CM19 4BX is BT commercial build.

    7. TheFacts says:


      This area is part of the commercial rollout by BT and other fibre providers such as Virgin Media. It is outside the scope of the Superfast Essex Programme.


    8. Raindrops says:

      That area was given local authority money. It is not part of BTs commercial rollout. In fact for that postcode the rollout is still not complete to that specific area….


      Exchange Name: HARLOW

      Superfast Fibre is in your area but we can’t tell by your postcode if you can get it right now. Please contact your communications provider, who can check using your phone number. Check out our FAQ for more information.

      You can stop pretending you have any idea.

    9. TheFacts says:

      Essex CC say it is commercial, please show otherwise.

      The majority of properties in that postcode are connected to cabinet 16 which has FTTC now. A few are eo lines, hence the need to check with an ISP.

    10. Raindrops says:

      Please show where the information is that states that cabinet is BT funded? You are the person claiming that to be a commercial cabinet.

      HARLOW is subject to BDUK and local authority funding, the very first cabinet in HARLOW to go live…
      which was a Superfast essex funded cabinet rather than a local authority or BT funded cabinet is ALSO in an area where virgin are already.

      Almost all of Harlow is covered by Virgin Media and has been for years, there is no need for any BT cabinets in Harlow.

    11. Raindrops says:

      “The majority of properties in that postcode are connected to cabinet 16 which has FTTC now.”

      FTTC cabinets are not numbered either so that statement is nonsense also.

    12. Raindrops says:

      And furthermore…

      Just like the openreach site shows NO FTTC so god only knows why you think that postcode has it let alone that its connected to a commercial cabinet which BT do not want to say is enabled.

      RUN ALONG and try to justify all of it.

    13. TheFacts says:

      Put the postcode into http://www.superfastessex.org/en-us/where,whenandhow.aspx
      which says:

      This area is part of the commercial rollout by BT and other fibre providers such as Virgin Media. It is outside the scope of the Superfast Essex Programme.


      STREET SIDE DSLAM CAB NMBECA, WEDHEY, HARLOW, CM19 4AH on Exchange HARLOW is served by Cabinet 16. Visable in StreetView.

    14. TheFacts says:

      No. 58 has FTTC available.

    15. Raindrops says:

      That result from the superfastessex checker is clearly wrong. The map shows it is clearly wrong. Openreaches map shows it is not in a commercial area either so you are saying all the mapping detail from various organisations is wrong.
      You do know where harlow is do you not, you do know it is not in the purple area.

      NO BT checker shows FTTC is available in that area and thats because the cabinet for that postcode is local authority funded awaiting activation and the last slice of funds.

      You can quote one checker all you wish, ive shown multiple maps and multiple checkers all of which say that postcode has no FTTC and all of which show it is not in a FTTC area.

      FTTC cabinets are also not numbered so i dunno whos janky info you are reading on google maps.

    16. TheFacts says:

      Try the ADSL address checker.

    17. Raindrops says:

      Which street checker the BT wholesale and BT Openreach one both say NO to that postcode having FTTC

    18. TheFacts says:

      The Openreach map says CM19 4BY is accepting orders on Cabinet 16 and the ADSL checker gives the cabinet details. You need to check the individual address, not just the postcode.

    19. No Clue says:

      The Openreach Map says no such thing. As has already been pointed out to you.

      There is NO FTTC in that street currently i picked on that specific postcode as i have extended family that live in that very street. They know more than you that it is not available, it is not part of the commercial rollout and the cabinet that is there is yet to be activated as its down to local authority funding.

      So mnope you failed, you have also FAILED to explain why one of the very first cabinets in HARLOW funded by the superfastessex program was also in an area Virgin Media already covered.

      You ca not explain it and the reason you can not explain it is because like so many statements you make its utter nonsense. BT have overbuilt in Essex end of.

      BT are scum AGAIN end of.

    20. TheFacts says:

      Details of the DSLAM cabinet connected to Cab 16 are above.

      Essex CC state it is commercial on their website. Some properties in the street are eo. First on that postcode is:

      Address 58 LITTLE GROVE FIELD, HARLOW, CM19 4BX on Exchange HARLOW is served by Cabinet 16
      Featured Products

      Downstream Line Rate(Mbps)

      Upstream Line Rate(Mbps)

      Downstream Range(Mbps)

      Availability Date

      High Low High Low
      FTTC Range A (Clean) 80 72.2 20 20 — Available
      FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 62.9 20 17.7 — Available

    21. No Clue says:

      “Essex CC state it is commercial on their website. Some properties in the street are eo.”

      Utter crap again with no proof.

      The cabinet for that street is not enabled.

    22. TheFacts says:

      The proof is the checker for a specific address. Check with TalkTalk for that address:

      Great news! Your chosen package is available. Order today and Pay £5 for 12 months + £16.70 monthly line rental

      With Fibre Medium you can go up to 5x faster than standard broadband. With Fibre Large you can go up to 10x faster.

      An engineer will install your Fibre Broadband. Just select a convenient appointment when you place your order.

    23. No Clue says:

      The talk talk checker says i can not have FTTC but clearly i can.

      Some how i think Openreachs and BT wholesales checker which both say NO to FTTC for that road is (or i would hope it is) more accurate than Talk Talks.

      You carry on though trying to find information to suit your argument.

      When are you also going to try and explain away why one of the first cabinets funded by the superfastessex programme in HARLOW as mentioned by raindrops here…
      is in an area which already has VM services. NO because you can not explain that either.

    24. TheFacts says:

      What are the locations of the first Superfastessex cabinets that are in VM areas? Note some overlap is allowed. The BT commercial rollout in Harlow started in 2012.


      No argument, but to explain. A postcode area can have properties connected to different cabinets or directly connected to the exchange (Exchange Only lines). In this case the Openreach checker says refer to ISP so a check can be made on a specific property, it does not go down to property level. Where all properties are connected to a FTTC cabinet the checker gives a positive answer.

      In the case of CM19 4BX a check on a number of properties shows many are connected to Cab 16, the rest as EO as no cabinet number is given. Both the TalkTalk checker and the BT Wholesale ADSL checker say properties connected to Cab 16 can have FTTC. The BT checker says ‘available’ which means available.

    25. Raindrops says:

      “In the case of CM19 4BX a check on a number of properties shows many are connected to Cab 16, the rest as EO as no cabinet number is given. Both the TalkTalk checker and the BT Wholesale ADSL checker”

      Unless you work for BT the wholesale checker can not be used to check individual properties and requires NAD key information. SO how did you check individual properties with the WHOLESALE checker? DO you work for BT and are attempting to defend them?

      Explain how you are checking INDIVIDUAL properties on the wholesale checker where information for each property is not in the public domain.

      AS to “What are the locations of the first Superfastessex cabinets that are in VM areas? ”

      First fibre for HARLOW Essex and the superfastesssex scheme i think you will find was London Road postcode CM17 0DE…… AGAIN a VM area as you have been told multiple times. Oh and what makes it worse is i think they rolled out FTTP in parts of that road rather than FTTC also.

    26. Raindrops says:

      Oh and what do you mean by “Note some overlap is allowed.” NO IT IS NOT overlap is supposed to happen only in commercial areas, and then not intentionally unless you are now going to say overlap in public funding areas like Essex and B4RN areas is ok.

    27. TheFacts says:

      Click on address checker, put in postcode, click submit, select property.

      CM17 0DE – SE say:

      This area is part of the commercial rollout by BT and other fibre providers such as Virgin Media. It is outside the scope of the Superfast Essex Programme.

    28. Raindrops says:

      You said the “BT WHOLESALE ADSL CHECKER” as already explained the Essex one is inaccurate, if that post code were commercial it should be purple on their mapping.


      You can not unless you work for BT, which makes everything you have just stated utter poppycock.

    29. Raindrops says:

      CM17 0DE is also not commercial and if you had bothered to look at google maps you would know that because if you enter that postcode then click to go up london road a little ways to where the cabinet is you will see it is for a new housing development.

      NONE of london road is commercial, the other half of it falls under this scheme…

      AGAIN that has fallen to the superfastessex program.

      The superfast essex checker and all its returning of areas being BT commercial is 100% wrong because one of the other first cabinets back in june was Church Road, junction with Rickstones Road, done in conjunction with Braintree District Council and Rivenhall Parish Council. AGAIN easily seen on google maps and again the “checker reports that cab as commercial.

      OH AND AGAIN part of Church road already has Virgin services.


    30. Raindrops says:

      For the avoidance of any doubt your post…….

      quote”……the BT Wholesale ADSL checker say properties connected to Cab 16 can have FTTC. The BT checker says ‘available’ which means available.”

      EXPLAIN how you do individual property search on the BT WHOLESALE CHECKER… Go on im all ears how you do that without a NAD.

      BT worker and poor defender.

    31. Abuse Alert says:

      Please ask nicely.

    32. TheFacts says:

      Go to https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html

      Click on Address Checker

      Put in postcode, click submit.

      Which gives:

      Address 58 LITTLE GROVE FIELD, HARLOW, CM19 4BX on Exchange HARLOW is served by Cabinet 16 etc.

    33. TheFacts says:

      The ADSL checker works OK for individual properties as described above. Use ‘Address Checker’ option.

    34. TheFacts says:

      Finally he understands. Why all the rudeness?

    35. No Clue says:

      The BT wholesale checker does not work for individual addresses idiot

    36. No Clue says:

      That page to get results to an INDIVIDUAL SINGULAR ADDRESS requires a NAD key.

      Only BT workers like you have that info, which is why you can not explain hoe to use the BT wholesale checker for single address checkers.

      This concludes this discussion and that you are a BT shill with no way to defend your overbuilding with tax payer funds

    37. TheFacts says:

      Forget the NAD part, put in postcode, click submit, drop down of properties in that postcode appears. Click on one.

    38. No Clue says:

      Doing that only checks the postcode for an area. Unless you now admit the cabinet that serves Church Road which was one of the first in the superfast Essex programme also overlaps with a Virgin Media area.

    39. TheFacts says:

      Where appropriate different properties in the dropdown for a postcode give different results.

      How do you know Cab 16 was provided by Superfast Essex and not the BT commercial rollout as stated on the SE page? Note that data is more accurate than maps. First cabinets were upgraded in 2012 as part of the commercial rollout.

      If a cabinet area covers both VM and non VM properties then it’s allowed to be funded?

    40. TheFacts says:

      Your example is in Rivenhall, near Witham, postcode CM8 3HH or CM8 3PF. Both are:

      CM8 3PF

      Sorry, your home isn’t in a Virgin Media area
      We’ve checked your postcode and unfortunately we can’t bring you any Virgin Broadband, TV or home phone services.

    41. No Clue says:

      NEITHER of those are post codes for church road

    42. TheFacts says:

      Cabinet is:

      Address O/S 502, STREET SIDE DSLAM CAB NNBLII, RICKSTONES RD, RIVENHALL, WITHAM, CM8 3HQ on Exchange WITHAM is served by Cabinet 25

      Church Road postcodes are CM8 3PG, 3PH, 3PQ. All not in a VM area. Same for 3HQ and 3HH in Rickstones Road.

    43. No Clue says:

      Closer with your post code this time but still wrong…..


      Last 2 digits erased just see you can keep guess checking and looking a fool.

      Would help if you lived in Essex or had relatives that lived there, then you would have a clue about the area.

      Please carry on though and bookmark any other news item in future you feel you are right about but obviously are NOT. I am happy to make you look stupid on a continual basis.

    44. No Clue says:

      PS ive left you a clue as to how you can actually address check rather than just postcode with the other postcode at the bottom of that page for the area of Medway, which if you check that one it is also a church road. Now see if you can go find the virgin webpage link that allows you to input ADDRESS rather than postcode also and then select from all the “high Streets” etc that Virgin is available in.
      HINT for the Church road in Witham Virgin is only available at limited addresses… Ill show you why also if you want with a map image and where virgin runs in that area LOL

    45. TheFacts says:

      OK show the map and where VM home cabled broadband is available and not the business product which may use OR FTTC. I don’t care what the result is, just that it’s correct.

      ps. Fewer abusive words please.

    46. No Clue says:

      The map i was going to show you was on the Essex chronicle website, which unless the story has been moved to another page has vanished. It reaches that address in Church Road basically by running along the railway which slices straight through Witham and then goes up the B1018, follows the old quary road (not easily seen on google maps) across to the road just south of tarecroft wood (again just about viewable on google maps) and then follows the track which also has the pylons delivering electricity into witham and eventually keveldon.

      It dates back to telewest days when the farm land at the time between Silver End and Cressing was going to be a housing development. Which was obviously scrapped (i guess some government document to confirm this is somewhere on the net). I imagine their aim at the time was to run through the new development up to braintree and back down into Chelmsford via the A131. It never got that far though but did get far enough to serve 2 homes in Church Road and 2 farms (one before Church Road and the other large one with a small housing complex literally just about halfway along Church Road). The aim was never to deliver to Witham its just due to circumstances a couple of folks are lucky.

      I doubt you will believe this and i hope i can find the news item and map which shows where the new development would had been and even shows what i have stated above about how Telewest was going to reach it. If you look carefully at google maps you will the idea they had makes sense.

      Regardless ive demonstrated with the Virgin congratulations image it can be had in that road, granted it is to only 2 properties, but it still overlaps with a BT roll out which was funded by government.

    47. TheFacts says:

      1 Church Road is CM8 3PQ. Put that into the VM check says no for the whole postcode, no choice of individual properties.

      Small overlap is allowed, see http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/03/virgin-media-keeping-close-eye-bt-bduk-broadband-rollout.html This is apparently what is happening here with just a few properties with VM access. Can we see a VM cabinet in Streetview?

    48. No Clue says:

      Ill repeat
      clearly is available.

    49. TheFacts says:

      It does appear to not be possible to input an address without a postcode. CM8 3PQ results in all properties not available. Which page are you using?

      The manual screen pre-populates the postcode if the address is not in the drop down for a full or partially enabled postcode area.

      Interesting differences with the 2 versions of virgincheck2.jpg.

    50. No Clue says:

      I can get it to show up on any page that allows you to enter a postcode. The most recent screengrab although i named the file the same is a different capture i can do it a third time if you wish and save the file as any name you want. Any file i name with a “2” or an “02” on my computer to me personally means something which can be deleted or of little importance. Its an old timer trick that makes housekeeping very easy. I know when doing some file managing nearly any non-system file that ends in a 2 can as good as go.

    51. No Clue says:

      PS If you do not believe i did it a second time then for reference the 1st upload has a modified date of 13 December 2014 1:50:03 PM

      Second upload has a modified date of 17 December 2014 1:18:47 AM.

      The second is slightly compressed more than the first also 272.82 kB (279,363 bytes) Vs 269.69 kB (276,160 bytes).

    52. TheFacts says:

      Which pages let you put in a postcode that produces a drop down for that postcode? Seems unlikely or unusual to put in the street cabinet kit for just 2 properties.

    53. No Clue says:

      Look at Tarecroft wood and the field just above it on google maps. Follow the track across to church road, zoom it as far as you can on that track, you will see that is where power etc is delivered into that area (you can easily see pylons). I imagine the cabinet (if their is one) is located in that vicinity.

      The 2 weird shaded fields next to the other wood land just above tarecroft wood when zoomed in on google maps (one is just below bowers lake) are 2 of the areas which were going to be developed for housing.

      The other 3 fields just to the right and 1 very slightly below tarecroft wood, even had the start of a 2 lane new road build around it, which you can just about tell when zoomed right in, the remnants can just about be seen were also scheduled for development. The cabinet and general electricity/power delivered into that area would had been slap bang in the middle of the new development. The fact it just ended up serving a couple of properties in the general area already is more luck than anything. Im actually now trying to find the news story which explains why it never all went ahead as im sure they must of reported the why.

    54. anon says:

      The first image looks like an edited version of the page with the ME postcode entered. The second is identical with the postcode removed at the bottom and the blob in the exact same position and increased in size as the pixels on the left and right of it are identical.

    55. No Clue says:

      LMAO oh dear dumb dumb……

      What is your wild theory now?

      Do you ever get tired of making yourself look an idiot?

    56. No Clue says:

      I expected more from the super troll rather than amateur “you edited a picture” guff. Run along and think of another excuse.

  2. DTMark says:

    On Newsnight just last night “We want more entrepreneurs in this country”.

    (The moron John Redwood, IIRC).

    Doesn’t look that way to me.

    We might need them, but we certainly don’t want them.

  3. Andy says:

    Highly frustrating and annoying when Openreach are basically wasting cash installing what is effectively inferior technology for this area, which if rolled it out in many other Lancashire towns would be greeted with open arms as an enormous upgrade.
    To the casual bystander it looks like a petulant child trying to build a bigger sandcastle than the next kid on the beach.

    1. DTMark says:

      .. and when the local authorities finish the ‘give the money to BT’ project, otherwise known as ‘BDUK’, and are still left with stack of “not spots”, they’ll be approaching exactly these sort of entrepreneurs to finish off the job for the fiver that’s left in the pot so as to be able to tick some boxes.

      If there are still any left.

    2. Raindrops says:

      Not to mention idiots claiming funding and funded areas are BT commercial areas.

    3. TheFacts says:

      Please show where this claim is.

    4. No Clue says:

      Did he mention you? Or did you see the word idiot and just realise he meant you?

    5. Raindrops says:

      I think he is just so use to the term he now answers to it, whether you are talking to him or not, or was wanting his input or not.

      Its like making a clucking sound and a chicken comes running.

  4. adslmax says:

    Dirty spat BT! As BT knew they don’t want to lose out!

  5. Gadget says:

    As note in the article – BT has not been told to stop, so has anyone asked the Council if they have removed the contractual requirement on BT to supply those postcodes?

    1. DTMark says:

      If the authority tells BT to redirect their efforts elsewhere…

      Who has the power in this relationship – the authority, or BT?

      What might BT tell the authority the consequence of their direction would be?

      (cough) “commercial” rollout

    2. No Clue says:

      “As note in the article – BT has not been told to stop, so has anyone asked the Council if they have removed the contractual requirement on BT to supply those postcodes?”

      Frankly that makes little difference…
      A) If it is still tax payers money it is a waste of money
      B) Even if the council said NO and the public purse was cut off that still would mean BT are using their own funds to overbuild in an area when there are plenty of other places which are NON-Fibred areas in the UK BT could had put the money towards.

      Either way you look at it BT are idiots.

    3. Gadget says:

      It makes quite a lot of difference
      1) Council has left the postcodes in and not removed them from the contract. BT is still held by the contract to deliver in those postcodes, agree its a waste but surely pointed at the council door.
      2) BT overbuild with their own money – still a waste, but of a private companies money.

      In the second case your comment could be valid, in the first case who are the “idiots”, the party who is being held to a contract, or the party continuing to hold them?

    4. No Clue says:

      1) How do you know the council left the postcodes in rather than BT requesting them not being removed.
      2) Yep no issue with what they do with their own money, do have an issue when they are deliberately failing to supply people with services entirely as seen on Watchdog. Perhaps more time and money spent on those that have been waiting just for a working phone for best part of a year would be a better excises.

      BT are idiots in both cases, in case A) even if prior contract said they should supply there is nothing stopping BT asking that obligation be removed from the contract, which i highly doubt they have. They have did it in other areas of the country including the abandoning of any further FTTP be it funded or their own cost. Though its quite clear their greed and wanting B4RNs potential business is the real reason they have just suddenly started serious work.

  6. We’ve had the same problems at Wessex Internet with the BDUK OMR process, but this example takes the biscuit.

    Talk about wasting tax payer’s money, prioritising areas already served with superfast speeds & where that’s been invested privately.

    If you are going to spend £bns of tax payer money, you may as well invest it in areas best needed and not compete against private/social enterprises that create jobs & support the local economy.

    One hopes and trusts that the local community embrace B4RN and shun the BT system. After all you can probably guess which will provide the best support and community.

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