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Broadband Delay for Suffolk Village After FTTC Cabinet Destroyed

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 (11:30 am) - Score 3,823

Openreach (BT) has informed residents in the rural Suffolk village of Hadleigh Heath that they will have to wait until late January 2019 before a new “fibre broadband” street cabinet (FTTC service) is activated, which came after the last one was destroyed in a car crash on 16th August 2018.

According to EADT (see for pictures), the cabinet is currently still in pieces at the side of the A1071 road. By the sounds of it the cabinet had only recently been installed and was at the time in the process of being commissioned before the accident happened.

Normally Openreach would have replaced the cabinet by now, but in this case they assessed that the risk of a similar incident happening again in the future, as well as the potential for significant traffic disruption during repairs, meant that it would be better to relocate it.

A Spokesperson for Openreach said:

“The damaged cabinet on the A1071 was a newly stood box, in preparation for the roll-out of fibre broadband.

However, the significant damage prompted us to reconsider if this is the most suitable location for it.

That’s because it’s right next to a busy 60 mph road, on a bend, and would require temporary traffic lights every time we needed to work on it.”

The downside of moving a cabinet like this is that the operator will have to go through all of the usual admin, permissions, permits, power supply and other checks first before they could even begin the installation process. All of which lengthens the wait but is also largely unavoidable.

Leave a Comment
23 Responses
  1. Avatar Pete

    It is somewhat amusing how the venom of the readers is directed at Openreach for the delay in reinstatement/relocation, rather than the driver who destroyed the cabinet in the first instance.

    Never the less, the funniest part has to be the wording: “broadband box was ‘damaged’ – more like written off”

    • Avatar Eric the Swede

      Having seen and worked at tens of similar cabinets or installations from all data providers, you might ask why they are placed in such precarious positions. The rush to meet deadlines and budget limitations tend to appear to be prevalent, with no consideration for the poor old engineer or support staff who have to access them, let alone the driver of vehicles that may hit them.

  2. Avatar Jon Eskdale

    The other thing to consider is why the admin takes so long. If that is truly the case. We need to get things like this organised in days not months. What a waste of time and money.

    • Avatar Fastman

      problem this this is not simple especially if the cabinter is a cured cab (Ie a new cab inserted into the network, as they may be very limited space to obtain power and not increase the line distance . Openreach is not allowed to worsen ADSL when It provided a fibre cabinet so what at first looks simple to the layment is actually a significantly complicated process and that had to validated , approved and all all agreed with the Highways and local authorites and any land search requirements undertaken (as to waht is under the ground where you want to site the cabinet (priate land. high voltlage cable etc)to determine a alternative siting assuming one actually exists

    • Avatar A_Builder


      Well I would focus on the lousy OR process displayed here.

      Someone should have been doing RAMS for all of the stages of the works that should have taken into account the hazards of the locations.

      Any two bit road repair outfit/scaffold company would do RAMS for a roadside installation of this kind.

      So the idea that the 60 mph road and the bend have only just been picked up is not really credible. As they are fixed risks that would have been present from the start of the planning process.

      It is actually a shameful failure of process and suggested that OR’s roadside works wouldn’t actually stand up to an HSE investigation if the worst happened.

      I’m not an Elf N’safety nut but there are times when the proper processes do pass the common sense test and this is one of them.

    • Avatar bob

      “problem this this is not simple especially if the cabinter is a cured cab ”

      Yes it is that simple, plant like that cabinet can and could had been actually installed below ground level, it costs more and requires digging a hole… Cost and extra work both being something Openreach are allergic to.

  3. Avatar craski

    We had a new (not yet commissioned) FTTC cabinet suffer the same round our way. It seems that cabinet positioning rarely took safety of those working on them into account as so many are opposite junctions or on outside of fast bends etc.

    Good job nobody was working on it when the it was wiped out. We have another cabinet near us that I was told “required” traffic control to allow it be opened but we regularly used to see guys nipping into it without the traffic control in place.

  4. Avatar Rich

    I live nearby and have been past this location. It’s an absolute mess.

  5. Avatar Optimist

    Is there a fixed-point wireless alternative?

  6. Avatar RodC

    I saw the box on the roadside last time I was in the UK, it was completely destroyed. I wondered about the placement, just from a maintenance point, very close to the corner on a main road. I guess the main fibre route follows the road. Must say that’s some bureaucratic delay.

  7. Avatar EndlessWaves

    While it’s understandable that they’ve reconsidered the location and it’ll take a few months to get permission, it’s not right that they haven’t sent anyone to clear up the mess for four months. They must write off at least a couple of cabinets a year due to damage nationally, they’ve surely got experiencing in disposing of them.

  8. Avatar Niall Hennessy

    Openreach said “[T]he significant damage prompted us to reconsider if this is the most suitable location for it.

    That’s because it’s right next to a busy 60 mph road, on a bend, and would require temporary traffic lights every time we needed to work on it.

    Which goes to show how little thought is given to siting these ugly and often dangerous boxes.

    The clowns at Openreach have littered our town with DSLAM cabinets planted in the most mindless places. In one case, a cabinet has been dumped in the MIDDLE of a narrow alley! Which is now no longer passable with pushchairs, prams, and wheelchairs. Sufficiently ridiculous that we felt dutibound to complain, telling Openreach to move it somewhere sensible. Alas, “Instransigent” and “Prevaricate” are Openreach’s middle names. No surprise, the bean-counters said no. Deceitfully claiming that it had to go in the alleyway (in the middle??) because of a length limitation on the tie pair cable. What lies! The specs allow at least 50 metres of cable to play with, between the PCP and the DSLAM.

    This wretched company needs crushing flat, like that DSLAM in the picture. Britain deserves better. Much better.

    • Avatar Fastman

      so what the distance between the pcp and DSLAM the greater the distance the worse cross talk and poorer performance (you’d probably complain about that !!!! . that must have been given highyways or approval , Openreach cant just stand stuff, .

      perhaps you like to write to Openreach to have it removed and so your community has not wish to have fibre broadband !!!! or you could offer Openreach the gap (out of your own money) for FTTP your whole village

      I assume you have not taken a VDSL service on principle

    • Avatar Optimist

      Is the cabinet still blocking the alleyway or has it been unofficially relocated?

  9. Avatar gerarda

    That picture shows just why FTTC is not a rural solution. Not a house within half a mile. Just sited there because there was a copper cabinet that was probably installed the best part of 100 years ago

    • Avatar Gadget

      I’d have to disagree, as best as I can ascertain the cab location is 52degrees 2 minutes and 11.27seconds North and 0degrees 54minutes 51.36seconds East using Street View. This puts the whole village within 250m of the cabinet, or circa 350m line length.

    • Avatar gerarda

      I suspect you are looking in the wrong places. There are virtually no houses on the A1071 which is one of the reasons it’s an accident black spot.

      Hadleigh Heath is in a road off the A1071.

    • Avatar The knowledge

      From the looks of the cabinet this is an all in one DSLAM, you’ll likely find old D side cables were intercepted and placed into this to reduce the length of the D side from DSLAM not because there was a existing PCP near.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Cab 23 with 23 properties.

    • Avatar Fastman

      new cab all in one so have to bee where the cables split otherwise you would not have picked up all the premsies

      this is not an existing cab

    • Avatar Gadget

      https://www.google.com/maps/@52.03661,0.91458,276m/data=!3m1!1e3 is where I think the cab is from Streetview, and moving back slightly it corresponds to the view posted by Mark at the top of the page. Google Earth then allows me to draw a circle from that point, allowing me to make the statement about potential coverage.

  10. Avatar TheFacts

    170m to first house.

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