West Blackdown residents are now being connected to Brentor’s new digital broadband network. The first connection was made on 23 August 2021. Several previous deadlines had been missed, but now all the months of battling with BT and Openreach, and all the countless telephone conversations and emails to Ofcom, our MP etc , have finally produced a result.
Current BT internet users are being offered fibre-to-the-premises connections up to 1000mbps, although most will opt for less expensive options of connections at 36, 50 or 100mbps, according to their needs. There is also an option to use the digital system for voice phone calls and get rid of the copper telephone line. It’s worth noting that Openreach aim to remove their copper network from areas with fibre by 2025. Experience is showing that it is definitely worth talking to others who have already booked a BT digital package and to compare the prices they have negotiated! Users of other ISPs will be able to negotiate different deals and there are a range of ISPs available on the network.
Not all of the cluster of houses originally due to be connected, such as those in Station View, are being connected straight away since only part of the new network has been commissioned for service. There still seems to be a total lack of communication between Openreach and BT. On 29 July 2021 West Blackdown residents received an email from the helpdesk that said ‘We are contacting you to advise that there has been a delay due to outstanding d-pole (needs new pole moved to a different location – wayleave required). But they couldn’t tell us where the ‘d-pole’, (their jargon for a defective pole), is sited. They should have known that it is defective since April! The editor has discovered that there is a defective pole on the edge of the river Burn, stopping the extension of the fibre to Station View and the village centre, but there is already a wayleave arrangement in place on this land.
Work started on 13th April 2021 to lay a fibre optic cable on Gibbet Hill from Mary Tavy to West Blackdown. It took only a day to bury 1.85km of conduit pipe beneath the moor. Work to pull the new underground fibre cable through the conduit is also complete.
The rest of the fibre-to-the-premises network is being installed above ground on existing telephone poles. Work on hanging the fibre started on 27 April 2021 and is still not complete, with plenty of days when nothing has been happening. When the fibre work on the poles is in place individual houses are connected by Openreach using fibre cable. Openreach promised that homes in West Blackdown and Station View would have their superfast broadband network in operation by 23 July, but clearly wasn’t achieved and a new deadline for commissioning part of the network by 4th August has also passed. But now of course some properties in West Blackdown are being connected.
It is not clear if the centre of the village will be connected in the near future. Trees have not been trimmed to allow access to the telephone poles between Station View and the village hall. Several home owners in the middle of the village received messages from BT indicating that their fibre network would be available by June 2021, but again this has not been delivered and the messages were probably sent by BT in error.