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Telecoms Industry Sees 24 Percent Increase in UK Digging Work

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 (2:25 pm) - Score 1,152
Red Road Closed road sign in a UK city street.

The annual Digging Up Britain 2021 report from LSBUD (Line Search Before You Dig), which provides an online asset search facility to UK civil engineering firms for underground pipes and cables, has reported that there was a 24% increase in the amount of digging work performed by the telecoms industry over the last 12-months.

Apparently, a total of 1,125,843 searches were performed through its portal by telecoms operators and their contractors in 2020 (up from 911,455 last year) and telecoms searches now account for 36% of all searches made (up from 32%). By comparison, the water industry was a close second on 825,322 requests, which is a 39% increase on the previous year.

All of this is out of 3,078,670 total searches across all covered sectors (representing 77% of all digging work taking place in the UK), which is itself an increase of 9% over last year. None of this will come as much of a surprise to our readers, since for the past three years our pages have been filling with news on the rapidly growing network expansions for FTTP broadband and 4G or 5G mobile services.

The report itself suggests that part of the telecoms increase is down to the Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme, although it should be said that the first build contracts under than won’t even be awarded until around mid-2022, and the continuation of the linked rural gigabit voucher scheme doesn’t really play into the latest stats. Private sector deployments are thus the main driving force, for now.

Richard Broome, MD of LSBUD, said:

“Given these ambitions at Government-level, it’s easy to see why the telecoms industry continues to top the charts in terms of searches. I can’t see this momentum slowing down for a while to come.”

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased and non-essential projects get up and running again, the level of excavation work will boom, so it is important that each site has been planned accordingly, allowing the contractors working on behalf of the telecoms companies to hit the ground running.

The important thing to bear in mind is that more digging can mean more danger. Hitting an underground pipe or cable is a serious health and safety threat and it can be incredibly disruptive to a utility provider’s service. So, with a surge in digging activity predicted, we urge everyone involved in telecoms projects to keep the momentum up and keep on checking for underground assets – every time.”

The report itself was actually published last month, but we were too busy with other articles at the time to write about this one.. until now.

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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.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Just a thought says:

    Shame so much of it is happening in the same streets multiple times and not in fibre notspots.

    Of course if they laid ducting the there would only be need to dig once….

    1. GNewton says:

      “Of course if they laid ducting the there would only be need to dig once….”

      That would be too much common sense which doesn’t exist in this backward country.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      To be fair, a lot of the new builds do use quite a bit of existing duct via PIA, where viable.

    3. GNewton says:

      But there is still the wastefulness of building multiple fibre networks to the same premise in certain places. PIA is a start, but not the whole solution. We don’t have multiple power lines or water pipes going into the same premise, do we? So why isn’t there a better coordination for fibre builds?

    4. 125us says:

      Co-ordination between rivals is Cartel behaviour and gets you a prison sentence.

  2. Moss says:

    I’ve seen a lot of digging in my neck of the woods (Islington) telecoms are getting their hands dirty and are seeing huge demands in internet across the board.

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