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Court Orders UK ISP Jurassic Fibre to Pay £13k in Street Works Fines

Thursday, July 7th, 2022 (8:11 am) - Score 3,408

The North Somerset Magistrates Court has found broadband ISP and UK network builder Jurassic Fibre guilty of three offences related to their street works, which stems from their roll-out of a new gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to 500,000 premises (30 towns and villages) in South West England by 2025.

The operator, which is currently being supported by an investment of £250m from Fern Trading, last month confirmed that they’d already managed to complete coverage of their new full fibre broadband network to 100,000 premises (across 21 towns and villages), which is up sharply from the 75,000 they reported in March 2022. At present most of this work is taking place across Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

NOTE: Fern Trading also backs a number of other full fibre builds from Giganet, Swish Fibre, AllPoints Fibre and Vorboss.

However, the civil engineering side of such projects is often unavoidably disruptive, and sometimes it can also go a bit wrong. In this case, the Somerset County Council ended up taking the operator to court after they found a number of serious failings with the operator’s works in Wellington and Creech St Michael, including – carrying out works without a valid permit, blocking a dedicated cycle path and pedestrian footway, and failing to put traffic management measures in place.

According to Wellington Today, Jurassic Fibre pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and was thus fined “nearly” £13,000 by the North Somerset Magistrates Court.

Summary of the Three Offences and Fines

➤ Fine of £3,000 for blocking a dedicated cycle path and pedestrian footway.

➤ Fine of £3,000 for carrying out road works without a valid permit from the county council.

➤ Fine of £2,000 for failing to put traffic management measures in place to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

The fines above total £8,000, but there were also costs of £4,500 and a surcharge of £190 to pay. The fines could have been worse, but the court recognised that the operator was a new company in the area and this was their first prosecution.

Councillor Mike Rigby said:

“It is vitally important to hold companies to account and uphold the relevant safety standards and provide information to the highways authority. We cannot allow instances where utilities carry out works without obtaining a valid permit, if this happens, we expect suppliers to feel the full force of the law.”

At the time of writing, we have not yet heard the operator’s side of this story and have requested a comment. Having said that, we’ve seen quite a few operators and their street works contractors make similar mistakes in the past, although not all such issues are spotted or result in a fine.

However, mistakes do happen, but over the longer term a bit of disruption is usually a small price to pay for access to gigabit-capable broadband connectivity and more competition in the local market.

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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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17 Responses
  1. Ben says:

    Hmm! I was on holiday and when I arrived (on a Saturday) Jurassic had plans to close the road which my accommodation was accessed from. It was a nightmare trying to get through to them to establish exactly what their plans were. Even the council weren’t sure if access would be maintained — and the officer who I spoke with at the council said that Jurassic were one of their worst companies to work with.

    Fortunately their contractors were excellent at assisting / maintaining access, but Jurassic themselves were extremely disappointing.

  2. Joan S says:

    I’ve been saying this from day one. This company is a useful as a chocolate tea pot.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      If you currently only have a choice of copper based broadband and FTTP comes along from Jurassic, then I’d say that’s pretty darn useful. Even when they build in an area with established FTTP provider’s then the extra competition that brings has a positive impact. Useless, they are not.

    2. Taunton Tom says:

      I’ve had a very different experience with them. Only had FTTC via Openreach providers in the past which wasn’t the most reliable and was just getting slower over time.
      Jurassic came along, amazing install, no setup costs, no 24 month contract and half the price of what I was paying for.
      Contractors from Airband and Somerset County Councils own contractors have been far worse in Taunton over the last few weeks in terms of blocking off roads and payments in an unsafe manor.

    3. Anonymous says:

      They are absolutely hopeless.

      At everything.

      If you can avoid them, you’re best doing so.

      If other councils wanted to get a few quid for violating the rules, they can just watch pretty much any Jurassic install – they’ve got plenty of form for ignoring safety rules.

  3. Anthony says:

    “blocking a dedicated cycle path and pedestrian footway”….My God talk about being petty. They are doing a difficult task as fast as they possibly can that is essential for the whole country to get done. The paths/roads are only blocked for a week at the absolute most. Its a case of just put up with it. Would they take the ambulance service to court if an ambulance blocked cycle path. Or is it just ISPs facing their ire…

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I suspect, in this case, there may be a bit more too it than that, but we don’t have the details to confirm.. yet.

    2. Roger_Gooner says:

      Blocking a dedicated cycle path and pedestrian footway posed a danger to all those affected by the works and was in direct contravention of section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. It seems entirely fair to penalise Jurassic Fibre for this.

    3. Anthony says:

      Right, but unfortunately this is needed to install the cable. If there was a mains gas leak and NorthernPower needed to close a footway and circle path to replace the leaking pipe for a few days, would they get sued?

    4. RWGsection10 says:

      @Anthony If Northern Power had to repair a gas leak then they would set the site up correctly and use ramps to create a pathway for pedestrians to keep them safe.

  4. draugelis says:

    Well at least they doing their job and people getting connected with faster internet. Unlike BT who only takes money for slow unreliable dial up internet twice more than fttp. Bt also liars they provide hybrid cables or outdated copper cables but lie to people and tell them it’s fibre.. .I want to thank jurrasic. If it wasn’t for them i would still be stuck hundred years with garbage dial up from bt.

    1. Ben says:

      You might recall that BT closed their dial-up service in 2013… https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23877364

    2. A_Builder says:

      I think the ‘D’ in DSL has got conflated with the ‘D’ in Dialup!

      That said it would be sensible for BT/OR to retire their ancient FIBRE US HERE stickers on FTTC cabs……

      They could then replace them with FULL FIBRE IS HERE….

  5. Ian says:

    Short term pain for long term gain. Quit complaining. It’s thanks to companies like this, Gigaclear/Giganet where I am, that we can look forward to 21st Century internet. If we had to wait for BT Openreach, we’ll probably always be waiting.

    1. Anthony says:

      Agree 100% with this. People just love complaining.

    2. Shaukat says:

      Well thatcher put a stop to the then post office to install fibre across the UK, to each address, way back then, on a joint project between the UK and South Korea. A decision which was left open to market forces to decided Whom decided on the cheapest opinion and we are where we are now catching up to the south koreas of the world.

      This is amongst of many reasons why the UK lags behind in infrastructure, all short term planning.

    3. A_Builder says:

      At some point someone in authority has to put a stop to dangerous practices and bad making good.

      This was a shot across the bows to tighten things up.

      It focuses minds etc

      Whilst I am all for as much full fibre as possible and prepared to take a degree of the rough with the smooth it also isn’t commercially fair to the more organised operators such as OR who go to some lengths to do street-works and H&S by the book to allow others to take short cuts that do, in effect, save money.

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