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Holwell now has fibre broadband!

A BT broadband connection

I’m delighted to tell you that you can now get fibre superfast broadband in Holwell.

BT can accept upgrade orders now (other providers may take up to 2 weeks to come on stream).  You can do this online here (although, ironically, the website is slow) or over the ‘phone on 0800 100 400 (from a mobile: 0330 1234 1500).

Remember, you have to upgrade to fibre broadband, you won’t get faster speeds automatically.

If you’re not sure fibre broadband is for you, please come to a village digital skills session in Holwell Church at 7pm – 8pm on Wednesday 25th May. Topics will include:

  • Setting up fibre broadband in your home
  • Protecting yourself with online security
  • Best deals from internet providers
  • What is cloud computing?

There will be short presentations on each topic with questions afterwards. It’s free to attend, all are welcome.

If you want to celebrate fibre’s arrival in Holwell, there will be a party in Holwell Church from 8pm on Wednesday 25th May. All welcome, please bring a bottle!

There she blows!

Cable blowing machine

Today, contractors fed fibre optic cable all the way from Scalford Road up to our cabinets on Main Street using this quite wonderful contraption (above) – a cable blowing machine.  The black cable on the right is the fibre and the black/green cable on the left is the sub ducting, into which the fibre is fed by compressed air from a large generator.

Blowing fibre

That’s the compressed air generator on the left and our fibre, coiled up ready to go, on the right.  The contractors did this work from half-way along Holwell Lane, pushing 1km of fibre in one direction towards Scalford Road and then the other 1km in the other direction towards Holwell.

I’ve been advised by BT that it will take about 2 weeks for our cabinet to become live (around the end of April).  You will then be able to place your fibre broadband upgrade order with BT – other providers may take a couple of weeks further to come on stream.

After you place your upgrade order, engineers typically take 7-14 days to install the service, so we’re looking at around mid-May for the first of us in Holwell to be using superfast broadband.

I will email everyone in the village when our cabinet is live and probably do a leaflet drop through your letterbox, too.

Finally, let me clear up one common misunderstanding – although it is BT which has put in the cabling, you don’t have to sign up with BT to get fibre broadband.  Other providers will be offering service, they might just take a little longer to come on stream.

New arrival on Holwell Lane

Subducting on Holwell Lane

No, this isn’t actually our fibre, but it’s getting close!  This is a roll of sub-ducting, which goes inside the bigger ducting that the team with the mini-digger has been laying under the verge of Holwell Lane this past few weeks.  When the sub-ducting is in place, our fibre is ‘blown’ (yes! by compressed air) up the sub-ducting to our cabinets on Main Street.

The mini-digger team should complete their works by the end of this week and sub-ducting is already being laid, hopefully to finish next week.  The fibre spine up Scalford Road is already in place, so it shouldn’t be too long before we get our fibre!  I’ll keep you posted.

Fibre ducting now being laid

Holwell Lane fibre ducting

Contractors are now digging in the first kilometre or so of ducting along Holwell Lane, starting at the Scalford Road junction.  Ducting is what our broadband fibre will be laid along.

This first ducting job will stop at the Mining Zone, then another job will connect up to the broadband cabinets at the bottom end of Main Street.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for following this site in 2015 – best wishes to you and all in Holwell for 2016.

If you’re interested, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.


Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Both cabinets now stood

The PCP has now joined the DSLAM, down at the lower end of Main Street.


Although the site has been cleared of spoil, there’s still some work to do to remove the larger stones and seed for grass, so that in due course the verge will look nice and green again.

There has been some more work done on the cabinets since they were stood, such as electrically earthing them, but the main job we’re waiting on is digging in the fibre from (I think) Scalford Road.  I have no date from BT or LCC on when that will be started, but have been told it will be in the New Year.  I can see that Scalford has yet to get its 2nd cabinet and work will be under way soon to clear some duct blockages along Scalford Road, so the project is still progressing our way.

Meanwhile, thank you to all in the village for participating in my latest survey and I’m pleased to report that nearly everyone is likely to upgrade to fibre broadband when we go live.  I’ve shared that information (in aggregate only, no personal details at all) with BT and LCC to encourage them to connect us as soon as possible.

I’ll keep you posted on developments here.  Happy Christmas and best wishes to you all for New Year!

Fibre update

This evening I attended the latest Superfast Leicestershire Stakeholder Forum at County Hall to represent Holwell.

I’m glad to report that the county-wide project is on time and on budget.  The Council budget cuts we hear so much about in the news are unlikely to affect the remainder of the broadband project – of which we’re part – because the County’s contribution to it has already been put aside.

There was no specific news for Holwell at the meeting but separately I have been reassured that our village remains in the plan for delivery this Summer (2015).  We should start to see work happening between April and June with a PCP (green, copper wires cabinet) being stood in the village, followed by a DSLAM (green fibre cabinet).  Then the fibre itself is laid into the village and finally everything is connected up and we go live.  Be prepared, however: this last stage can itself take a few months, as we’re seeing in Ab Kettleby, where problems with the cable routing have resulted in delays.

I’ve volunteered to be a ‘Digital Champion’ for our village and will keep you updated here with firmer dates on our fibre roll-out just as soon as I get them.