» ISP News » 

Oops – Openreach UK Put Full Fibre Pole Through Village Sewer

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 6,878

Residents in the rural Pembrokeshire (Wales) village of Nolton Haven were last week left with a smelly problem after a team of Openreach (BT) engineers, which have been busy deploying Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband in the area, managed to install one of their telegraph poles through a mains sewer.

Sometimes even the best civil engineers make a stinky mistake, although it’s rarely quite as literal as this one. Nolton Haven itself is a typically picturesque hamlet that sits along the coast of St Bride’s Bay and as such it’s rather lucky to be getting a “full fibre” broadband ISP network. We assume this is part of BT’s latest contract with the Welsh Government (here and here).

However the deployment has not been without its problems. For example, locals have complained that the newly installed poles and fibre are “unsightly against the cliffs and beach.” The work has also damaged some existing copper lines, which briefly left two elderly people without the ability to contact anybody (no mobile signal where they live).

The latest mishap, which occurred last week, is that Openreach seemingly managed to install one of their new poles directly through the mains sewer. Residents who tried to complain about this then found it difficult to contact the operator’s Project Manager, who they say always seemed to be unavailable.

Comment from Local Resident to ISPreview.co.uk:

“During their work they have installed 6 new poles without planning permission from the national park. They have spanned a large amount of new fibre after spanning fibre 2 years prior, but running out of time to connect it (they apparently can’t use it as it has the wrong date on it!).

They have then installed one of the new poles straight through the mains sewer pipe, which is now causing raw sewerage to contaminate the water way and sea.”

The good news is that the engineers came around last Friday to fix the damage (as pictured below).

An Openreach Spokesperson said:

“We’re in the process of installing, new full fibre broadband in Nolton Haven, which will provide around 100 homes in this remote village with not only some of the fastest speeds in the UK, but also a more reliable future-proof service that will serve their needs for decades to come.

Sometimes – as is the case here – the only viable option to deliver full fibre is to install new equipment. Our engineers installed several new poles, having followed the correct planning process and gained council permission. As the poles cross park land we consulted with Natural Resources Wales to ensure they’re placed as sensitively as possible.

We do our best to carry out work with great care but on this rare occasion the installation of one of our new poles did cause a small crack to a nearby sewer pipe and disrupted service to two local phone lines. Both issues were resolved on the day, with the phone lines reconnected within an hour. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused.”

In the long run we’d hope that the ability to order a “gigabit-capable” broadband connection in such a small rural location should help to balance against any initial difficulties during the deployment.


Leave a Comment
21 Responses
  1. Avatar qqq

    Seems like a s— situation for all involved.

  2. Avatar A_Builder

    You would think the field team would have noticed the nearby manhole.

    And maybe opened it to do a visual before using the augur to drill down?

    That really isn’t very clever at all and does show an issue with not following standard street works procedures. I suppose we have to be thankful there wasn’t an 11kV cable buried there…..

    • Avatar Optical

      You be surprise how often ultilies like gas,water,sewer pipes & electrics arn’t shown,or in totally different location to what is on the map.
      My last place I had someone out to confirm no sewer pipe,where I was putting a drive,way,guess what – I went through a large sewer pipe,& even found manhole buried 1′ down further along my route,yet nothing shown on utilties map…
      Even hit a gas main many years earlier on a job where village has never had gas.

    • Avatar joe

      A_Builder I imagine its only this visible after they have dug this area out after the problem….

      Britain is a nightmare of unmarked pipes and cables…

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Whilst I agree that the utility maps are close to useless – I do think they could have found it with the GPR OR were recently boating g about using.

      I had one job where an 11kV was shown on the map but when we had a site visit from, then, EDF the technician agreed with me there never had been one there. I guessed what had happened knowing the area well and sure enough it was where I guessed it would be. Frightening really.

  3. Avatar LBB

    Gigash*t-capable broadband?!

  4. Avatar AF

    Not sure why natural resource Wales are involved. They’re the people who maintain rivers and pollution.
    I think they meant to say National Parks!
    According to the parks, Openreach provided no prior notification and are now potentially requiring full retrospective planning!
    I am curious though, does anyone know if this new fibre can resist trees, becuase openreach state it will be reliable

    • Trees aren’t a problem unless the line gets physically broken.

    • Avatar Optical

      Well,raw sewage is a high pollution risk to rivers,waterways,etc,so Resource Wales will get involved.

    • Avatar Adam

      restrospective planning permission is usual for poling work, standard way of doing it under the telecommunucatioms act.

      With regards to tree rub, it will be a long term issue but not to the same level as with copper. With fiber generally the tree either breaks the tube or it doesnt, with copper theres a whole host of ways they can cause intermittant issues.

    • Avatar Fastman


      “During their work they have installed 6 new poles without planning permission from the national park. They have spanned a large amount of new fibre after spanning fibre 2 years prior, but running out of time to connect it (they apparently can’t use it as it has the wrong date on it!).

      probably complained about work stopping earler (2 years ago)
      now complaiing about poles and stuff

      how did they think it was going to be delivered (by faries)

      this stuff is hard and complex to do

      Damned if you do / damned if you dont

  5. Avatar AnotherTim

    How come they’re lucky enough to get FTTP *and* sewers?

    • Avatar Tim

      Yeah crazy.

      I know a house that’s not far from my dads that can’t get broadband, has no mains electricity (they have a generator instead) and no sewer. This is in Kent, an area that you’d think wouldn’t have things so bad.

    • Avatar Optical

      Tim: You be surprised how many places there are in the UK still without main electric,mains water,& gas,know of one decent size village that has gas only for first few houses at one end,rest of village nothing,now in the 21st & many places are still in the dark ages.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I’m fairly lucky – we have water and electricity (most of the time, although I have several UPS as the voltage is somewhat variable). Nearest gas is 4 miles away, nearest sewer a mile. Nearest FTTP is 5 miles as the crow flies (new estate).

  6. Avatar tonyp

    I remember a holiday in lovely Nolton Haven. Then (1956 I think), to phone home, you had to find the red phone box, put 4d in the slot to call the operator and ask for ‘trunks’ to make a reverse charge call to home. How times change!

  7. Avatar Shaun Taylor

    I didn’t realise Openreach still had Pole units I thought they had sold them off to contractors years ago.

  8. Avatar Tally

    I didn’t realise Openreach still had Pole units I thought they had sold them off to contractors years ago.

    • Avatar Squidgy

      They even have their own civils teams to do digging and duct laying and clear blockage etc.

  9. Avatar KL

    Any idea which contractor that pictured at the end of the article? With the blue barriers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £19.95 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPER20
  • SSE £22.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.50 (*35.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Onestream £22.99 (*34.99)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2740)
  2. FTTP (2667)
  3. FTTC (1767)
  4. Building Digital UK (1722)
  5. Politics (1630)
  6. Openreach (1590)
  7. Business (1403)
  8. FTTH (1330)
  9. Statistics (1220)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1195)
  11. Fibre Optic (1048)
  12. 4G (1027)
  13. Wireless Internet (1009)
  14. Ofcom Regulation (1004)
  15. Virgin Media (990)
  16. EE (678)
  17. Sky Broadband (662)
  18. TalkTalk (652)
  19. Vodafone (651)
  20. 5G (487)
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact