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UPD Wonky Pavements and Delays Cause Problems for Virgin Media in Carlisle

Friday, July 7th, 2017 (8:46 am) - Score 1,216
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Contractors working for Virgin Media in Carlisle (Cumbria) have faced criticism over the quality of their work after 400 defects were logged in one year, with the local authority now having to inspect 90% (instead of the “usual” 10%) of their street works and instruct a lot of repairs.

At the end of last year the cable operator announced that, as part of their £3bn Project Lightning network expansion, a further 22,000 homes and businesses in Carlisle would soon be able to access their ultrafast broadband and TV services (here).

However the council claims that this was originally expected to take 9 months and they’re apparently already 3 months over that deadline, partly due to all the repairs. Mind you this claim seems a bit odd since Virgin Media only announced the roll-out in November 2016, although the work itself might well have started before November.

Rob Betton, Botcherby’s Independent Councillor, said (News & Star):

“Some of my constituents have fallen over these uneven pavements. In some cases, paving slabs are being left sticking up by as much as two inches. In many cases, the work has been done in conservation areas.

There are examples of good workmanship: the work done by local workmen has been excellent. But a lot of the work being done by contractors from outside the area has not been up to scratch.

They’re leaving far too many defects. Along Eden Park Crescent, Victoria Road, Broad Street, Merith Avenue, Durranhill Road, and Tullie Street I found more than 100 defects.

In one conservation area they’d mutilated some of the sandstone paving slabs, cracking them and replacing them with tarmac.”

Generally such disruption is often a small price to pay for gaining access to an ultrafast broadband network and boosting local competition at infrastructure level. Similarly major infrastructure deployments do often cause problems and we’ve reported on plenty of those from different operators in the recent past, although lately Virgin Media’s contractors do seem to be scooping up the lion’s share of complaints.

Unfortunately the cable operator has had to cope with quite a bit of bad news lately. Only this week they were criticised by the BBC’s Watchdog TV show for slow broadband speeds (here) and separately they’re also being hauled before Scotland’s Roadworks Commissioner for, yes you guessed it, more wonky street works (here).

Mind you Cityfibre has suffered similar gripes and from time-to-time Openreach’s contractors make mistakes too. We might also see a lot more complaints like this in the future, especially with “full fibre” networks (FTTP/H) now being given a bigger focus.

UPDATE 10th July 2017

We’ve spotted some similar complaints around the Canvey area of Essex (here).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar REGIS

    As someone living in carlisle i can agree not all the work has been up to code but most of those problems listed where there BEFORE virgin’s contractors even started, the ones working on warick road (which has been flooded twice now) left it in much better shape then the council ever did. as for the sandstone the council have been doing that for years now, all the nice new paveing slabs where i live was pulled up and tarmaced just 2 years after being first installed.

    And this from a council that voted to put a predestian crossing over 4 lanes of traffic (that no-one asked for!) on one of carlisle most busy roads dispite there being 2 underpasses and a predestian bridge over the same strech of road, it should be notited as well that the road affected is also the main ambulance road from the hospital to 85% of carlisle and they already have problems getting thro as it is.

  2. Avatar peter

    I am one of the small local contractors working on this and can say that the state of the flagged pavements in carlisle are shocking before we even start and are being improved as we work as we are replacing broken flags as part of the contract.
    But the main problem is people parking all manner of vehicles on the pavements that were never designed to take such weight.
    We returned to work yesterday to find a full loaded artic lorry parked on the flags we had laid the day before, unless their prepared to concrete protect all the ducting i can see this driving all contractors away from the the project.

  3. Avatar David cowe

    virgin meda come on to webster creseant carlisle and just stared digging told no one they where starting running saws with no water covering every thing in dust and by law now you have to have water supprtion muck every where and when asked about this they just walked away whens the council going to tighted up on theses cowboys

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