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UPD Otley Homes Suffer Broadband Woes After Lorry Destroys BT Cabinet

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 (5:46 pm) - Score 1,287

Homes and businesses near Waitrose in the market town of Otley (Leeds) could suffer over a month of unstable broadband connectivity after a lorry crashed into one of Openreach’s (BT) street cabinets. The cabinet was promptly replaced but problems with the power supply remain.

Judging by YEP’s description, we think it’s the cabinet on the corner of Westgate (pictured above in better times). A closer inspection reveals that Openreach have today been conducting roadworks in the same location to excavate and expose an “existing power cable in Footway,” which seems to line up with what we know.

The crash itself happened approximately two weeks ago and Openreach were able to replace the cabinet, although unfortunately Northern PowerGrid say they are unable to reconnect the mains electricity supply until 15th August 2017. As a temporary solution Openreach’s engineers have been arduously swapping out the cabinet’s backup battery twice a day (6am and 6pm) but this obviously impacts reliability.

Sandy Lay, Local LibDem Councillor, said:

“Affected customers are really suffering due to a failure of Openreach and Northern Power Grid to work together. It’s been two weeks already with a delay of another seven weeks before the main supply is proposed to get back to normal.

Clearly this is unacceptable and just not good enough. Affected customers want stable, reliable internet and not the disruption and chaos they’ve been getting for the last fortnight whilst these huge companies have failed to work together for the benefit of their customers.”

The cabinet itself looks to be one of Openreach’s smaller ECI boxes, which will be delivering Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) services to local premises and can handle up to 128-256 lines (assuming we’re looking at the right one, there are three in the same area – P3, P15 and P16). We’ve queried the situation and are awaiting a reply.

UPDATE 29th June 2017

Good news, it appears as if the power company may have finally bowed to some local pressure and resolved the problem.

A Spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re equally frustrated about the wait for power to connect our fibre broadband cabinet in Otley. The cabinet was finally connected by the power company yesterday and our broadband services should be back up and running for all those affected. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”

Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Avatar Paul P

    Wouldn’t it be more practical to get the company’s insurer’s who’s vehicle struck the cabinet pay for a rental generator to be supplied to the cabinet site so power can be temporarily restored instead of swapping out batteries?

    • At this scale insurance companies aren’t exactly known for being the fastest of operators and you can bet somebody would damage or nick the gen.

    • Avatar Peter

      When the 11KV cable feeding my local substation failed SSE had a generator on a lorry in 3 hours as a replacement and here it stayed for the next 3 days while the supply was fixed: which it was
      So if they WANT to do it they can.
      It just needs a large enough electrified cattle prod stuck up their corporate rectal orifice.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      The car insurers are a third party here who indemnify the driver against valid damages. They aren’t insuring the cabinet, just any claims that are made against the driver. As such, OpenReach could, in principle, put a temporary generator in place and claim the costs against the insurer. However, any such claims in law have to be considered proportionate and reasonable and it’s very possible insurers will not consider that to be the case and it could end up in court with unforeseeable results.

      There are also considerations over the noise and any safety considerations of a portable generator left to itself.

      The real requirement here is for the whatever support situation there is between the local supply company to be made a lot faster. I suffered from exactly the same scenario where it took SSE 4 weeks to reconnect the cabinet despite it being ready for connection in 3 days after being flattened. The connection tails were still there (they had been disconnected quickly for safety reasons of course). It appears they simply treat the reconnection as a low priority job which goes to the back of the stack.

  2. Avatar Matt

    Maybe I’m an idiot but why does it take seven weeks to get power connected if the power cable is already there ?

    • Avatar CarlT

      Due to the mess up in communication between BT and the power company the supply was ceased and a completely new order required.

  3. Avatar Steve Jones

    Those who have seen my comments from about 18 months ago might recall precisely the same thing happened to my cabinet in Charlbury (save it was a 4WD, not a truck that wiped it out). The replacement cabinet was up and running inside 3 days (I think the accident was on a Sunday). However, it was running on batteries for 4 weeks as it took the local supply company (SSE ?) that long to reconnect. That involved three service interruptions a day or something around 80 visits. I assume the car driver’s insurers paid the overtime. I still have a suspicion that there’s some scam involved, but the guy replacing the batteries told me it was the electricity supply company that were dragging their feet. It simply wasn’t a priority so he said. I was a bit surprised that batteries couldn’t be swapped without the cabinet going through a power cycle. It could surely be done without that.

    Here’s the thread on the local forum


  4. Avatar ultraspeedy

    Another BT cabinet fixed in a speedy manner, but not quite as speedy as what hit it :O

  5. Avatar Optical

    Hopefully it will be replace with a Huawei cabinet now.

  6. Avatar DTMark

    When some poor unfortunates in a village somewhere go without connectivity for weeks or months after a storm/snow/wind takes down the lines, the usual response is “Ah well, they should have bought an SLA”.

    Does the power company not sell a SLA?

    • Avatar PaulM

      I do not see the point in SLAs at all. If you pay for an SLA to a provider to fix any issues in x amount of hours (ive seen as little as 3 hours up to 72 hours) then just how would they had fixed this or any smashing of a cabinet along with cable damage in that amount of time?? Just seems an added expense to me that can not be delivered.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Simple PaulM, you get paid for SLA failures

    • Avatar alan

      LOL and you pay more for the SLA in the first place than you get back.

      Agree with others, no point in them if the organisation can not meet them.

    • Avatar PaulM

      How much does a typical SRA cost and how much would a person get for an outage like this? Preferably link to an Openreach page please.

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