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Wildanet Take Flak for Disruptive Full Fibre Build in Cornwall UK Village

Thursday, Oct 19th, 2023 (8:56 am) - Score 1,640
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Contractors working for UK rural broadband ISP Wildanet have been criticised after they failed to properly inform residents in the village of Probus about their plans to deploy a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, before then proceeding to block off the entrance to local homes.

The operator’s full fibre deployment, which is focused upon parts of Cornwall and Devon in England, currently expects to add more than 50,000 rural ready for service (RFS) premises to their full fibre network by the end of 2023. This is in addition to the c. 60,000 reportedly covered by their fixed wireless network. Wildanet also holds a £36m Project Gigabit contract to cover another 19,250 premises in remote rural parts of Cornwall (here).

NOTE: The ISP is supported by an investment of £100m from Gresham House.

However, sometimes such deployments suffer the odd hiccup, which appears to be what has occurred on Carne View Road in Probus. According to the BBC (see for pictures), several residents of the village complained that they had no prior notice of the operator’s plans to build the new network. As a result, it came as somewhat of a shock to find engineers blocking driveways – often for several long hours – with barriers and obstructing the local school entrance.

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As one resident, Andrew Willson, said: “I didn’t think they would do anything like that without letting me know. There were no flyers, no signs, nothing … The workmen laughed at me, when I got back they told me I’d have to wait to get back into my house, so I moved the barriers.”

Justin Clark, Wildanet’s COO and Deputy CEO, said:

“We pride ourselves on keeping residents fully informed when we’re installing broadband and unfortunately this didn’t happen in the case of some properties in this street and we apologise wholeheartedly for any inconvenience caused.

Work onsite is being halted while we get a full report from the contractor responsible and speak to residents. As part of this, we have organised a public drop-in session next week to meet residents.”

On ISPreview we often like to say that tolerance of some brief noisy and disruptive works is a necessary part of delivering the prize that is full fibre broadband, which remains as true today as it always was. Often such work needs to restrict access for safety reasons (e.g. so you don’t fall into a trench), although this is normally only temporary – access is usually provided so that people and cars can still come and go, albeit sometimes on request.

However, it is also important that operators and their contractors play by the rules, keep residents accurately informed of their plans to dig and work to minimise any potential disruption caused. Provided people have fair warning of such disruption, then they can usually plan around it, but failing to do that will understandably result in complaints or more serious problems for those with urgent needs.

We should point out that, over the years, we’ve seen a fair few operators making similar mistakes to those referenced above. Mistakes do happen from time to time, but it’s also true to say that some third-party contractors are a lot better at their jobs than others.

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Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    Got to be honest this would upset everyone – even someone as desperate for fiber as I am. I had trooli block my drive for 30 minutes with no warning to install fiber for my neighbor with no notice which was equally annoying (even more so when they don’t cover my address for reasons..)

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