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Chamber Lid Removal Proves Tricky for Spectrum Internet FTTP Team

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 (3:31 pm) - Score 5,371

A team of engineers working for UK ISP Spectrum Internet, which has been busy installing their own “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband network across parts of South Wales and the South West of England, recently ended up biting off a little more than they could chew while trying to open up a corroded underground chamber.

Ordinarily gaining access to an underground chamber should be a fairly simple task, which is usually accomplished by simply lifting the covering lid off (hand tools and a little elbow greases are often enough). Unfortunately Spectrum’s team comically got a little bit more than they bargained when attempting to do this in the village of St Athan (Vale of Glamorgan).

The operator, which had been installing fibre optic cables in the area, soon found they needed to access one of the local chambers but no matter what they tried the lid simply refused to budge. Eventually they opted to hook the lid up to a 7.5 tonne crane and this worked, albeit perhaps a little too well given the huge slab of concrete attached 🙂 .

This one made us a laugh a little. The chamber lid had corroded so badly the bond was stronger than the concrete poured around the chamber lid,” said a spokesperson to ISPreview.co.uk. Spectrum are now running a Caption Competition, which encourages people to caption the image with something funny (e.g. “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!“).

You should be able to post your caption to their Twitter feed, Facebook page or Linkedin page. The best caption could win an Amazon Echo smart speaker, says Spectrum. Meanwhile locals in the South Wales and the Bristol area are being encouraged to contact the ISP, particularly if they are struggling with poor broadband speeds, because they might be able to benefit from the ISP’s Gigabit Voucher scheme.

spectrum internet fttp chamber lid fail

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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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20 Responses
  1. chris says:

    bill from opereach on its way

  2. Norman Leeder says:

    It doesn’t need a caption, it want a quality check doing and the sub contractor being made to put it right.
    If it’s a BT chamber then there should be DFE filed as its out of specification.
    Mind you this sadly is the end result of CarillionTelent taking on the contract in 2009, and employing cowboys and chances to work on the contract. Many many more tripwires waiting to be discovered.

  3. FullFibre says:

    The overkil of this made me laugh.. they don’t have an angle grinder in the toolbox but do have a 7.5 Tonne crane knocking about haha.

    It came out in one piece so neatly as well so they can just do the work and pop it back into place. Yes you can have access to this chamber, do you hava a crane? lol.

    1. Joe says:

      The irony is that they would get penalised for putting it back as it was.

  4. Jointbox says:

    All the gear, no idea.

  5. 5G Infinity says:

    Nice to see lots of fibre in the chamber [not]

  6. A_Builder says:

    Maybe this is part of the new Physical Infrastructure Access arrangements: you can only access our infrastructure with a big crane key? LoL

    On a slightly more practical note this is not a normal manhole but something very heavy duty – why else bother with that much concrete round it. It looks more like someone though they were building a drainage heading for a trunk sewer.

    I’m impressed that the lifting eye in the manhole took that much force.

    TBH I have lifted quite a few stuck manhole covers with the air suspension on my Discovery4 which is brilliant for that job. Drop it down, stick a couple of 1t ratchet strap diagonally over the tow bar and then put into one of the higher settings. Sometimes quite a bit of force is needed and some of the concrete covers are amazingly (and needlessly) heavy.

    I can’t say I have ever used a 7t crane to open a chamber cover THB and if you need that much force then something is going very wrong.

    1. Joe says:

      Was I the only person who wondered if someone joked that ‘it’ll take a crane to remove that’ and as they had one nearby they thought they’d do that. It woulnd’t be the first time!

  7. M. Afzal says:

    Nice working for FTTP and I’m same working FTTH in oman muscat and I also like to work with UK

  8. G. says:

    Box in question is not OR’s. I must have lifted thousands in my time, and if you know what your doing, using the correct tools, I’ve never not been able to get in. There is an art to this kind of stuff and using cranes and trucks sounds like a recepie for disaster to me. Loving the cones too, lol, and not a GDU anywhere to be seen.

    1. bob says:

      Well its not Spectrums box either, they do not install janky old copper wires into ducts.

  9. Marty says:

    A single fight against a chamber lid. Corroded after years of neglect. A 7.5ton crane lies the only path too salvation.

  10. joseph says:

    Introducing BTs new copper theft prevention system… Smart Concrete. Protecting £1 of copper with a £1000 (probably in weight and value) Slab.

    1. FibreBubble says:

      This isn’t BT plant. BT would never use such unsafe methods putting staff and the public at risk. These are dodgy amateurs

    2. bob says:

      The cover certainly looks like a BT branded one.

  11. G. says:

    As stated, this is not a OR box. That means it’s not a BT box, understsnd?? How do I know? It’s my job. The bearers are wrong, the shape is wrong the ducts are wrong and lid is wrong.
    As stated the whole process has been unsafe and ameture hour.

    1. bob says:

      Well it is not Spectrums box either, they do not install janky old copper wires into ducts.

    2. joseph says:

      I apoologise, so i went and googled some images of BT ducts and ducting which seems to have founds many very similar images of not only the type of plastic ducting inside, but its positioning in the duct, the cabling, the size, the shape in fact everything. So unless they have copied the design i think its safe to say its not Spectrums. Suprised you seeing thousands in your work and knowing the bearers have not seen the hundreds of thousands pictured online which are very similar looking.
      So you can appreciate my confusion, perhaps Spectrum are rolling out copper using cables which look more than just a few years past their best. Then again perhaps not.

  12. A_Builder says:

    Joking apart though this is in something like a lorry park.

    The lid that has been used is a very heavy duty type that you would never use in a footway as it is designed to be in the middle of a motorway.

    The concrete has been laid in such a way that it has protected expansion joints so the segments are not connected together in any way.

    What amazes me is that some idiot has used a pedestrian duty concrete manhole former under the ultra heavy duty top. Although they may have just encased the night duty former in lots of concrete to make up for that.

    1. joseph says:

      Yep that is more the issue whoever did the concrete work in the first place. Along with whoever fitted the manhole cover initially. 1ft+ thick concrete and then a few inches thick lid.

      I would not be shocked given the force that must have been required to pull that up in one lump if the cover was not “corroded” shut as initially thought but totally sealed when the concrete was poured.

      The result of contractors another organisation (we can guess who) hired looooooong before spectrum even touched that duct.

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