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Cotswolds Villagers Vent Anger at Dangerous Gigaclear FTTP Rollout

Thursday, June 14th, 2018 (5:42 pm) - Score 1,817
gigaclear digger and fence

Some residents in the rural Gloucestershire UK village of Chalford have vented anger at Gigaclear after the ISP’s roll-out of a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network allegedly damaged properties, caused “intolerable vibration” in some homes and a worker had their legs struck by a digger.

Last year Gigaclear handed a £90m civil engineering contract for deploying their network into rural parts of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire (England), which should reach “almost” 70,000 premises, to a company called Complete Utilities (here). The latter was conducting work in Chalford during May 2018 when the problems began (here).

According to one resident, the contractors got off to a bad start by giving hardly any notice of the work and then causing damage (“scuffs and cracks“) to some stone walls (annoying but not the end of the world), as well as creating “intolerable vibration” inside the odd home. The most serious incident then occurred a few days later when a worker, lying on his stomach in the road next to a trench, was struck on his legs by a digger.

Locals suggest that the accident happened because there were too many workers and too much machinery operating in a confined space.

A Spokesperson for Gigaclear said:

“We apologise for any disruption caused to local residents during the installation of our full fibre broadband network.

We always aim to ensure that all work is carried out to the highest standards with safety front of mind, whilst keeping any disruption to a minimum.

We have worked with Complete Utilities, the contractor used to lay the fibre cables, to address this and other concerns raised by residents, and we can confirm that each one has been taken very seriously and is being addressed appropriately.”

At the time of writing it’s unclear precisely what injuries the worker sustained and what his or her condition is, although we hope they’re recovering and that the damage wasn’t too bad. The original story suggests that his “legs [were] run over by a digger” (ouch!) and generally that doesn’t usually end too well, but it’s later suggested by the Stroud News & Journal that this was only a “minor leg injury” (confusing).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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12 Responses
  1. A_Builder

    If the digger story is true residents complaints will be the least of their worries with the HSE on the case.

    I sincerely hope it isn’t true as it would be a terrible price to pay.

    That kind of thing should never happen as diggers should be working in segregated areas with barriers and in case of pedestrians banksmen(women), don’t think there is a gender neutral, supervising.

    On a more positive note another community seemingly getting properly connected at last so SME’s and SoHo’s can function properly as well.

  2. Martin Streat

    Still digging massive trenches with old fashioned equipment. God does nobody in this shit country think why? All around the world fibre is being laid with no fuss in tiny slots. Makes me so angry. Before you ask we/I dug house footings by hand so I know all about digging.

    • A_Builder

      Quite agree

      Construction/civils and technology are odd bedfellows.

      Often over tech in one aspect and stone age in the others.

      Sometimes in all fairness a bigger hole than you would realise is needed to get round all the 100 year old infrastructure as there can be multiple abandoned cast iron pipes drains etc and while it is easy to be snippy and say survey tells it doesn’t really. Even GPR can be pretty useless sometimes.

    • Andrew

      The companies and contractors would like to use narrow trenching but it is usually the councils who are saying no and stopping innovation.

    • Joe

      I don’t know exactly where they are digging but micros is often no so easy. They ran fibre in our rural lanes verge but still used diggers as the road edges are full of bolders so you can’t but dig properly.

  3. Neb

    If the case of the digger running over and presumably crushing a workers legs did happen – it’s a notifiable event to the HSE under RIDDOR legislation.

    Any confirmation on the incident yet or the actions/penalties from it?

    • A_Builder

      @Neb

      If HSE are involved then any enforcement/notices will appear on the HSE website.

      I can’t find anything on a quick search but it may be a sub sub contractor who is the target of HSE action.

      If there was an accident like this then I would have expected a stop notice until control measures were put in place to prevent reoccurrence.

      @Andrew

      Narrow slit tech is great in virgin ground and we have done it to great effect over the years. Going around a field, provided it doesn’t have huge stones on it, it is 100% the way to go.

      Trouble is when you get to a mess of stuff buried in foamed concrete you have little choice but to get the digger out.

  4. Graham Long

    Narrow trenching being carried out in Devon & Somerset: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_0azrc4ED4

  5. un4h731x0rp3r0m

    “The original story suggests that his “legs [were] run over by a digger” (ouch!) and generally that doesn’t usually end too well….”

    I suspect firstly the original story is from some local rag for the area and secondly with every hope any injury to the worker has was nowhere near as severe as dare i say sensationalist journalism which may actually be involved.

    If people witnessed this incident and an actual digger drove fully over the person legs, the scene would had been filled with emergency services. Which in this day and age their would be pictures and video of the event unfolding, especially uploaded all over the internet.

    The chap is not going to just get up, shrug it off and maybe hobble a little bit into the back of an ambulance. The event and the taking care of it would had lasted more than just a few minutes.

    Having previously worked in an industry involving heavy equipment and seen my fair share off accidents…..

    CAUTION for those which may be sensitive to description of events do NOT read any further…..

    If that was a JCB or similar vehicle of that weight that drove over his legs the scene would not be a pretty one. Think bones sticking out through flesh at the best, and at worst a paddling pool area sized river of blood running down the street and a pound of flesh which looks partially minced left on the ground.

    I suspect for those which are easily shocked and even those that are not this would had been a bigger story if something as bad as that happened…… In reality its more likely some contact was made which was followed by one bloke swearing lots at the other, loud enough to gather some attention from normally curtain twitching village life duty 😉

    At least i hope for any involved and actually injured that is more near to the actual truth.

  6. Simon

    Oh boo hoo all that for 1Gbps both ways – you come live here I would HAPPILY put up with that!

    Don’t know you are born you lot.

  7. Ade Thompson

    Mark Jackson lifted it, pretty much word for word (but without attribution) from the Stroud News & Journal.

    http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/16290973.Drilling__damage___screams__Chalford_resident_speaks_out_against_broadband_install/

    The complainant was a Ms Amanda-Jayne Strover, campaigns manager for the constituency Labour Party. No doubt hoping to make political capital out of it.

    The supposed damage to her stone wall is trivial beyond belief. A tiny area of algae scratched off the stone! See photos!

    And we learn that the worker “who had his legs run over by a digger”, according to Amanda, suffered a “minor leg injury”.

    “Luckily, the driver had heard the blood-curdling screams and stopped in time,” said Amanda.

    Surely, as the digger driver “stopped in time”, his legs weren’t *really* run over at all?

    Nevertheless, “a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance and an air ambulance rushed to the scene at midday.”

    Sounds like they turned a semi-bogus accident report into a casualty-free multi-agency emergency drill.

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