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UPDATE BT and CALA in Fibre Broadband Deal for New Build Homes

Monday, January 30th, 2017 (1:05 pm) - Score 1,498

Property developer CALA and Openreach (BT) have finally agreed, following our article last year (here), to roll-out a “fibre broadband” (FTTC) service to “around” 330 new build homes in Surrey (Brookwood Farm) and 260 in Reading (Orangery and Parklands).

The article we ran in October 2016 centred on the plight of new residents at CALA’s Orangery, Parklands and Brookwood Farm estates / developments, many of which claimed to have been promised access to a “fibre broadband” connection but instead ended up having to fight for months just to receive a basic copper ADSL broadband and phone line.

Initially CALA appeared to shun the complaints and declined to help, until ISPreview.co.uk got involved. Shortly after that we were informed that Openreach and CALA had begun discussing the possibility of a solution and today there’s finally some good news to report. The two sides have officially agreed to co-fund an upgrade of the local infrastructure.

Alison Deakin, CALA’s Sales and Marketing Director, said:

“When the homes at Brookwood Farm were first planned, the option for installing fibre optic cabling was not feasible. However, over recent months we have worked closely with Openreach and residents to agree funding for upgrading the infrastructure to enable more homeowners to enjoy faster internet access. We are delighted that a solution is now in place that will allow all residents to benefit from high speed fibre broadband.”

Kim Mears, Openreach’s MD for Infrastructure Delivery, said:

“It is great to be able to work with proactive communities like Brookwood Farm to find a fibre broadband solution. We are working on hundreds of similar community fibre partnership programmes across the UK, which are bringing faster internet access to even more homes and businesses. Openreach is committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible.”

Apparently the first residents can expect to receive their new service towards the end of 2017. Sadly no figures have been given for the cost of this deployment, although residents at Parklands did inform us last year that Openreach had originally proposed to install an FTTC cabinet for the area and this would have required CALA to pay a gap amount of just £6,300.

UPDATE 31st Jan 2017

BT put out two separate press releases for the CALA story yesterday, although both seem to have been quickly removed and initially we only saw the first one; hence some early confusion over locations. However we’ve left the original news story in place, albeit with some tweaks to reflect all of the locations, since local residents also appear to have been given the same commitment directly by CALA. We’ll keep an eye out for BT’s revised PR and update if it adds anything new.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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19 Responses
  1. MikeW says:

    You got involved with Reading, and CALA fixed the issue in Woking?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Had me a bit confused too. I think this may be due to how there were several different CALA areas related to this issue between Reading and Woking. I can no longer view the press release on BT Group’s website, so I’ll wait to see what is added back later.

      In the meantime I’ve spoken to one of the residents and they’ve confirmed that BT’s release is in line with what CALA has been telling them about the Parklands upgrade in Reading (fibre done by end of 2017).

    2. AndyH says:

      I see that PCP54 appeared on the privately funded FTTC list back in Dec 2016, so looks to have been agreed between the developer and Openreach in Nov some time.

    3. MikeW says:


      If Brookwood Farm goes the way of FTTC, then it’s likely to be Brookwood cab 32.

    4. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes that’s about when I put an update on the original article, but at the time the exact details couldn’t officially be confirmed.

    5. AndyH says:

      I see it as FTTC and Cabinet 33 for Brookwood (again on the privately funded list).

    6. Mark Jackson says:

      Looks about right, maybe they’re preparing a single PR instead of splitting it up as I raised the problems for about 600 premises on the Orangery, Parklands and Brookwood Farm.

    7. MikeW says:

      Yeah – 600 homes across them would be about right.

      It looks like cab 33 is indeed the one being upgraded, but also looks to be new. Cab 32 is what covers the homes right now. I guess there is a little CuRe needed.

  2. Steve Jones says:

    Well done, even if it looks like squeezing blood for a stone. If that excess cost is to be believed, the “gap funding” amounted to less that £20 a property.

    Presumably we’ll hear fewer of these type of stories on significant new builds in the future as Openreach are offering to do native FTTP roll-outs (with a couple of caveats). They have to hit that 2m target somehow, and new-builds are surely the most cost effective way to achieve a good many of those.

    1. MikeW says:

      It isn’t going to cost much.

      CALA’s Brookwood Farm site is 300m, by road, from the Brookwood exchange. It is less than 100m from the back door…

  3. Fastman says:

    its also about 1.7 km in length from one end to the other !!!!

    1. Ignition says:

      Even if it were FTTP I’m not sure that’d be that much of a problem, swept tee ducting in place already and cost of fibre is relatively minimal.

      As it’s FTTC no great shakes. Fibre isn’t expensive per metre compared to costs of civils, etc. If using completely pre-existing ducting FTTP can be done for sub-£300 per premises passed.

    2. MikeW says:

      You would imagine that retro fitting FTTP here would be similar to the trials they did in Swindon.

      Can fibre be deployed in modern swept-tee setups merely by feeding the new cable from the property end? Or will the old copper cable need to be used as a draw-rope?

  4. FibreLess says:

    Hi AndyH,

    Is PCP54 for Parklands in Reading? Im not aware of that cabinet as the new PCP cabinet Openreach installed for the section of Parklands without Fibre was PCP56 which is on the corner of Woodlands Avenue and Farringdon road and currently has no FTTC twin. Really hoping they are not installing another PCP elsewhere on the development as PCP56 is really close to my house , line length wise. Any info is appreciated.

    1. fastman says:

      its cab 56 and all of these are FTTC

    2. GNR says:

      Hi Fiberless,

      How is the internet situation now? We are looking at a property that also connects to CAB56.


  5. David Harper says:

    As a Brookwood Farm resident this is both good and frustrating that it’s only FTTC. Cala seem very behind the times tech-wise (my little 3 bed house has 5 phone extensions. 5! I’d gladly swap those for some Cat5)

    It feels like a major missed opportunity on an estate still being built not to add FTTP. We’ve been clamouring for 18 months, begging before they put down road surfaces but to deaf ears. They actively denied Virgin Media access to the estate even though VM prepared for it right up to the boundary.

  6. GNR says:

    To the residents who are currently living in Cala Parklands, How is the internet connectivity in cala homes right now… we are looking to buy our first home and dont want to be stuck with a very slow internet connection and no plan to upgrade… any information would be useful.

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