Most West Blackdown residents are now connected to Brentor’s new digital broadband network but further connections to Station View and the village centre are being delayed by a single faulty telephone pole.
There is a lack of communication between Openreach and BT. On 29 July 2021 residents received an email from the Universal Service Obligation help desk 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, when the scheme was surveyed!
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. There must be a wayleave arrangement in place on this land since poles have been sited there for many years.
The good news is that the first fibre connection to a house in West Blackdown 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 900 mbps, 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 to get rid of the old copper telephone line. It’s worth noting that Openreach aim to remove their copper network from all areas with fibre by 2025.
Experience is showing that it is definitely worth talking to others who have already bought a BT digital package and to compare the prices they have negotiated. The high-speed internet and telephone packages on offer are proving to be less expensive than the cost of our previous abysmal service! Users of other ISPs will no doubt be able to negotiate deals and there are a wide range of ISPs available on the network.
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. When the main fibre is in place individual houses can be connected by Openreach using fibre cable. It is not clear if the centre of the village will be connected in the near future. Trees have not yet been trimmed to allow access to the telephone poles between Station View and the village hall.
Airband is currently constructing a fibre network that will serve the Liddaton Common and Liddaton area of the parish, so at last much of Brentor parish will have superfast broadband – something that we have been promised since 2017!