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UPDATE Footpath Fix for Sky Broadband and TalkTalk’s York FTTH Rollout

Monday, September 14th, 2015 (12:11 pm) - Score 1,743
footpath_resurface_york_uk

Deploying a new ultrafast (940Mbps capable) fibre optic broadband network in urban areas is never easy, as demonstrated by Cityfibre’s joint roll-out of a new Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) service with Sky Broadband and TalkTalk in York where some areas could need corrective work.

The new service, which Thinkbroadband separately suggests could begin to take its first REAL orders from Monday 21st September 2015 (this is not quite correct, we’re told it’s actually the date when they begin connecting trial users), is currently being deployed out to 20,000 premises as part of Phase One (leaving around 60,000 in the City yet to be covered); mostly in the northern half of the city (here).

Previously the project has touted its use of cheaper deployment methods, such as micro-trenching and overhead fibre optic cables, which can be used to speed-up the network roll-out, cut costs and minimise disruption.

Similarly an update posted by TalkTalk a few months ago said, “Early indications of build costs are proving to be in line with our target of under £500 per home passed“. Now that’s cheap for an FTTH/P network, but this doesn’t yet appear to include the sometimes tedious connection into homes.

Unfortunately street works often attract angry reactions from residents, as BTOpenreach’s deployment of FTTC/P solutions have so often demonstrated, and so it’s with little surprise that we learn of similar frustrations affecting parts of the FTTH/P roll-out in York (here).

Apparently several areas, such as St Mark’s Grove, Bilsdale Close, Staindale Close, Troutsdale Avenue, Wellesley Close, Surrey Way, Melton Avenue and Shipton Road (Rawcliffe and Clifton) have attracted related concerns.

Cllr Sam Lisle said:

Whilst we welcome this fantastic investment in the community we must make sure that the work is carried out respectfully and to acceptable standards. Both the Council and City Fibre have been prompt in responding to the issues we have raised with them so far, and we are pleased that remedial work will be undertaken on St Mark’s Grove, Bilsdale Close, Staindale Close and Troutsdale Avenue.”

Thankfully the local councillors, such as Stuart Rawlings, Sam Lisle and Peter Dew, appear to be hard on the case (here) and hopefully the other areas will also benefit from any remedial works, should they be deemed necessary.

The details are thin but they appear to concern general problems with the state of the pavements post-work, not to mention issues with piles of rubble and exposed trenches. ISPreview.co.uk further understands that the council has decided to resurface some pavements in the area, independent of the work Cityfibre are carrying out.

Problems like this are to be expected and no fibre optic developer is immune to such issues, yet the important thing is that Cityfibre and the council appear to be constructive in tackling them when they crop up. The biggest question though is how much allowance has been made in the budget for such issues and whether this will impact their cost models.

UPDATE 30th September 2015

The York Press is reporting of similar problems around the Clifton Moor Estate, which has seen residents complaining about the time it’s taking to complete the work and echoing the same concerns as those expressed above. One individual, Steve Oxbrow of Lindley Avenue, even witnessed a young child crash into an unmarked plastic manhole covering one of the trenches as she rode along the pavement on her scooter.

Mr Oxbrow said, “They dig holes then leave them for weeks on end … the whole estate is one big mess and I’ve been in touch with the council to see if there is anything they can do to move them on because we’ve had enough of it. It’s not going to be worth the hassle of having broadband and I hope no-one else is having to go through what we’ve been through.”

But as we know from the original article, other areas have indeed been making similar complaints. Meanwhile Cityfibre apologised, again, for the delay and a spokesperson blamed it on “the breakdown of an essential piece of machinery.” Apparently the contractors, McNicholas, are now aiming to complete the remaining work in the next few days and Cityfibre has also promised to investigate the safety concerns.

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8 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    “The mark of NTL” – that snaking line along the pavement, something that I’d always made sure existed right up the door when considering where to live – is still there and looks ugly in many places. I always wondered why it wasn’t remedied and was left like that.

    The picture above does look hideous. I wonder why the trench was so wide. I assume it’s on the far side of the pavement because VM already got there first with the nearside.

    • Avatar Ignition

      It wasn’t remedied because utilities aren’t obliged to do full width reinstatement of pavements they excavate. There are rules and regulations over reinstatement of pavements and carriageways and as long as they are adhered to it’s all good.

      Look at areas with underground BT plant that wasn’t put there when new build and you will see exactly the same reinstatement of the trenches dug only.

      Reinstating full width is really expensive. It ups costs phenomenally.

      I can quite confidently assure you that if Virgin’s people are told by a council they want full width reinstatement it’ll rapidly cause a rethink of their build unless there are really, really, really strong other factors present.

    • Avatar DTMark

      The houses in that photo look like bog-standard “Barratt box” new-builds.

      So then you might question why it is that it is necessary to dig to install modern utilities. Why wasn’t the duct work put in when the development was built? That would of course require a level of joined-up thinking that simply doesn’t exist in this country.

      When last in Amsterdam I wondered how it could be that the tessellated pavement pattern, so uniform throughout the Centruum (central) area, looked so immaculate and untarnished by digging.

      By chance a small section nearest the properties had come away in one place, and that’s where all the cabling seems to be. Lift up, put in cabling, put back down again. Faster, easier, cheaper, better.

    • Avatar Ignition

      More expensive to build initially and property developers in the UK really like their profits, their margins currently running at twice historical average.

    • Avatar DTMark

      Isn’t it the case that despite the developer only making the profit once, when the houses are sold, they’re expected to bung cash to the likes of BT to get them to install utilities, when BT stand to turn a significant profit over many decades?

      Would the alternative, which would be to put in wide enough ducting as the pavements are built, be cheaper overall, and then potentially attract a number of networks to lay their cabling thus also providing a USP: a choice of infrastructure from the outset, and in time, growing choice as the number one cost – the digging to roll out – is already done and it’s just a case of running cables?

    • Avatar Neil

      “that snaking line along the pavement…..
      The picture above does look hideous. I wonder why the trench was so wide. I assume it’s on the far side of the pavement because VM already got there first with the nearside.”

      Its unlikely the trench was actually that wide, pavements when you trench them often crumble like a flapjack at the sides, you do not want to see the state up our road after a new PVC gas pipe had to be fitted. and they carved the pavement up with a big old circular saw/grinder thing. The trenching is probably kerbside of the pavement rater than house/driveway side due to several factors. If you look carefully at the full size image… http://rawcliffeandcliftonwithout.yourcllr.com/files/2015/09/Stuart-Rawlings.jpg where he is standing you can see from the markings something (im no expert on what markings mean) is running up the middle-ish of the pavement already. If you view the image full size you can just about make out another old wonky pavement patch job at his feet and just behind his legs.

      If you also look right behind him there is a phone pole house/driveway side so i imagine BT phone cables run on that side for starters. Water (it looks like water anyway) also runs the driveway side of the pavement as seen by the tiny cover near his left wrist. I doubt there was anywhere else they could put the cabling, at least nowhere as easy as where they have put it.

      “The houses in that photo look like bog-standard “Barratt box” new-builds.”

      I doubt they are new builds id guess they are at a minimum 10 years old, probably more) just look at the windows in various houses and see how many are different and you can see many have had those changed. If you also look at the road on the full size image that is not in the best condition for a small cul-de-sac area with almost no traffic. Maybe he should worry more about how that is gonna look inside likely 2 years, especially how a what looks like recently fresh top layer rather than strip and relay of the road is crumbling gutter side. Or maybe he should be concerned about how residents the what looks like dead end of that street likely suffer even if minor flooding issues or big swimming pool like puddles at best due to that whole stretch of road he is standing in only having one drain in the gutter.

      I wish him all the best trying to smartun up the pavement but theres plenty, more that street has needed including unfortunately what looks like the forgotten drop kerb for the household he is standing by and the driveway… Opps!

    • Avatar Neil

      PS other clues those homes are not that new… The large tree at the bottom of the road and tall hedrows, along with the overgrown garden at the front of the house opposite him which also looks like it has a tree of some variety growing there, ironically that house has a drop kerb unlike the 2 his is standing by lol

      In short another PR craving all blub does little in reality Councillor.

  2. Avatar Ignition

    I trust central government will treat any complaints by York council regarding funding with appropriate disdain.

    If they have the money to do full width reinstatement of pavements because they don’t look pretty they clearly have no issues with funding right now.

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