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Since our cabinets were stood earlier this month, two teams of engineers have been doing further work on them, connecting our existing copper cables. The site has also been tidied up considerably, with topsoil laid and grass-seeded, so the verge will return to green in due course.
So we’re ready for the fibre to be brought into the village, sometime yet to be confirmed, hopefully early next year. It has been suggested to me that it won’t come (as I originally thought) from Scalford Road, but from Nottingham Road. This makes sense as we know fibre is already in Ab Kettleby, which is closer to us than Scalford and there is existing ducting along Nursery Lane and Main Street – it’s easy to follow the Telecom manhole covers.
Thank you for following this blog in 2015 – Happy Christmas and best wishes for a (Superfast Broadband) New Year!
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!
The first of the two cabinets we need for our fibre broadband has been stood, down at the bottom end of Main Street. This cabinet is called a DSLAM – a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer – and is what our telephone lines will hook up into.
The second cabinet – a PCP (Primary cross Connection Point) – should be stood alongside the DSLAM in the next few days and is what the fibre connects to.
The fibre itself isn’t here yet and has to be laid into the village from Scalford Road way. I’ll keep you posted on developments!
This afternoon, contractors arrived at the lower end of Main Street to start work on installing the two cabinets for our fibre broadband. Despite the pouring rain courtesy of storm Barney, I for one could not have been happier. It seems like it has been a long, long wait for this to happen.
What you can see in these photos is the excavation work for the cabinet footings and fibre & electric power ducts. In a day or so, the contractors will return to pour the concrete and, when that is set, the cabinets will be stood.
After that, we await the fibre itself to be laid – all the way from Scalford Road, I believe. I’m not sure of the exact route but for the most part will probably be dug into the roadside soft verge. I’ll stay in touch with my contacts at BT and LCC for updates on when this work is likely to be done and thereafter, when we are likely to go live. I’ll keep you posted!
Our fibre cabinet did not arrive this month as initially expected and fellow Holwell resident Colin Wild has shared on Facebook his discussion with contractors on Holwell Lane about problems digging our cable to us.
So I’ve been in touch with my BT and LCC contacts in the Leicestershire rural broadband programme for an update and this is the latest:
“We had expected that we would complete the delivery of this cab this quarter…but unfortunately our contractors have found 1800 meters of duct missing when surveying the infrastructure. This will need to be factored into the workload/timescales. …the backstop date for delivery is by end of March 2016 so in the worst case scenario we are looking at March 2016.”
March next year is significant because that’s when the whole Leicestershire programme finishes *. So I asked if there is any risk of us dropping off the ‘end’ of the programme, so to speak, and not getting connected. This is what I heard back, which is probably the best assurance we can get in this situation:
“You are in the plan for sure, and unless something extremely unexpected occurs, Holwell will be enabled by March 2016.”
I’m disappointed we probably now won’t get connected for Christmas, but in the bigger scheme of things a few additional months won’t make much difference. I’m conscious of the work BT has to do to bring fibre to us – we might not feel like we’re in the deepest countryside, but in telecommunications terms our existing 4.7kms of copper cable to Scalford means we do appear to be at the very limits of the rural superfast broadband envelope. There are many settlements our size which aren’t getting fibre at all.
* there is an extension programme in the pipeline, but it’s much smaller in scope and still being negotiated, I believe.
I’ve picked up advance roadworks notifications that Scalford is getting its PCP fibre cabinet stood between 4th – 17th September and Long Clawson is getting its two cabinets between 1st – 14th September. There is also fibre ducting being laid now alongside the Hickling to Nether Broughton road.
All this fibre activity nearby is of course welcome and while there’s no specific notification yet of cabinets in Holwell, the Scalford news is significant because it’s our exchange and must get fibre for us to get it, too.
I have been reassured once again that we remain in the rollout plan but some issues have been found with our fibre due to duct blockages. I did see a fibre services contractor van out on Holwell Lane and Scalford Road recently, so maybe they were doing the survey. It means that additional traffic management on some of the roads around here will need to be negotiated between Openreach and LCC Highways (at least we won’t miss them when they do the work lol!).
Despite this, the good news is that our fibre cabinet(s) are still expected to be live sometime between October and December this year, assuming no other problems occur.
More widely with the Leicestershire Superfast project:
- an additional £2million of funding has been secured to try and connect some of the rural areas even more remote than Holwell
- if you are a business, you can apply for up to £3,000 to help with your broadband connection costs. More information and how to apply here.
I’ve been in touch with my contacts at BT and Leicestershire County Council for an update, because it seems that BT sales may have 29th October as a date we can order Infinity (BT’s fibre broadband product).
The good news is that background work on the fibre spine to Scalford – our exchange – is indeed already underway. Furthermore, our two cabinets (one called a ‘PCP for the copper connections, the other a ‘DSLAM’ for the fibre) are now due to arrive in Holwell in August.
What we have seen with other cabinets in our local area, however, is that it can take up to 6 months from the cabinets’ arrival to actually going live. Nevertheless, even if it takes that long here, it still puts us around the Christmas/New Year time frame.
The 29th October date is therefore an ‘indicative’ only, but the take away message from all this is that our fibre is on its way!
Ok, fellow villagers, an update for you on fibre broadband coming to Holwell.
I’m being very cautious here, because some dates BT have given me have already slipped back and so I don’t want to make you what might seem like promises that I’m not in a position to deliver.
But the main thing is it’s still coming! I contact BT for regular updates and we’re still ‘on plan’. It looks like the fibre ‘spine’ i.e. what we in Holwell will connect to, is being put in place between July and September this year. Our cabinets i.e. what the fibre connects to in Holwell should also be stood in this period. This means from October onwards the exchange in Scalford and our ‘mini exchange’ in Holwell can go live, subject to no unexpected problems of course and BT doing all the necessary connection work.
Personally, I’m working on a ‘superfast broadband for Christmas’ scenario! It would make a great Christmas present.
I’ll keep you posted on further developments.
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.