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And 92 is not far behind!

After doing the groundworks for PCP102, the Options Civils team moved onto Marnell Park and started the works for PCP92. Again they’ve completed the cabinet base, and have started the ducting. No sign of the power source yet, the scheduled roadworks (and the pile of sand and scalpings left behind… anyone in Marnell builing a patio?!) imply that could be quite a long run. Hopefully tomorrow, all will be revealed.

PCP92 Basingstoke FTTC Install
A sign of what’s to come…. ūüôā
PCP92 Basingstoke FTTC Install
Cabinet base in. Either Openreach bought a load of bases in 2009 and have literally been sitting on them… or the metal is a well-used template to lay our the ducting and threaded rods. Somewhat odd with all the grass around why the cabinet is in the pavement, lets hope they don’t have to dig it up and move it!!

It’s not clear why the cabinet has been placed in the pavement, narrowing it, either. Presumably the land has not been transferred into public hands, and is looked after by a private management company – as is typical on new developments. Therefore it was easier for Openreach to site the cabinet in the pavement. Lets hope no-one complains….!

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PCP92 Basingstoke FTTC Install
Ducting going in
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Lets hope their bags of cement are waterproof… and to heavy for someone to bother taking away!
PCP92 Basingstoke FTTC Install
Cabinet not where it was expected to be, looking at the markings placed in September

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PCP92 Basingstoke FTTC Install
Sand and scalpings anyone? Presumably to fill in the power trench tomorrow.
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We are a GO!

[4pm update, new photos added below showing the base essentially complete!]

Today marks the most significant step forward to date in the provision of fibre broadband to Everest Park, as Openreach’s “civils” partner Options has this morning started work on installing the fibre cabinet pedestal base and ducting from the existing Openreach chambers.

PCP102 works underway
Works commence to install the fibre twin for PCP102, 5th Nov 2015

The works look to align with the markings painted at the beginning of September.

Recent cabinet installations for BDUK around Basingstoke appear to have gone live in around a month, so all being well we could be looking at being able to order a fibre service in early December.¬† However many cabinets have not gone so well, and there is as yet no guarantee of when the cabinet will go live.¬† The fact Openreach have started work and invested money “on the ground” is the most significant thing, and means its not if, but when!

For our “neighbours” in Marnell Park who receive service from PCP92, the good news is that the workmen confirmed they will be moving on to go the same preparatory work for their cabinet later.

We will of course continue to chase Openreach over PCP95 in Limes Park, for which the roadworks have not been scheduled as yet.

PCP102 Fibre Install
Options work team installing the ducting and cabinet base for the VDSL cabinet
PCP102 works underway
PCP102 fibre works, 5th Nov 2015

And four hours later….

It doesn’t take long to do the groundworks;¬† by mid afternoon, the cabinet plinth is laid, and most of the ducting in, including for the power cable.¬† Assume the metal plate is a template for laying out the ducting and threaded rods to which the cabinet itself is attached… it certainly doesn’t look new!

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pit

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Installation Works In Early November?

The best sign yet that fibre is coming…. at least to PCPs 92 (Marnell Park) and 102 (Everest Park)… has appeared today on roadworks.org.

As you can see in the following screenshots, power cabling works for both cabinets has been scheduled for 5-18th November. ¬†This is a little unusual as historically there was was an initial set of roadworks covering the cabinet base install, and a subsequent set of power works; ¬†and latterly (especially under the BDUK programme), there has been a single set of works stating “cabinet install and power works”. ¬† It would also be tricky to install power without having a cabinet in place!

PCP_102_Power
PCP 102 power works scheduled for 5-18th Nov, but when is the cabinet being installed?

PCP_92_Power

So we expect things to change, hopefully the scheduled works dates won’t slip and both the cabinets will be sited, and power will be installed, in the 5-18th Nov window… but we shall see. ¬†If that does happen, we may even have fibre available (to order) in time for Christmas, though with the lead time for the orders to be processed, it’s almost certain to be into the New Year before we can benefit.

We’ll keep a further eye out for updates, as well as continuing to chase Openreach directly for information; ¬†and also keep an eye out on PCP95. ¬†We’ve recently discussed PCP95 with the local councillor for Rooksdown, Simon Bound, and it appears the land is currently owned by the Homes and Communities Agency rather than the local council. ¬† It’s likely the wayleave application process for PCP95 is therefore slightly different, and we expect that is why no details for this cabinet have emerged today. ¬†We’ve not been notified by Openreach of any particular issues so do not expect any problems getting PCP95 enabled, but will keep an eye on the matter.

[UPDATE 26/10]  roadworks.org is also showing the planned installation of cabinet (in fact two, the build looks like Exchange-Only line replacement and also includes a new PCP cabinet) in Sutton Scotney for the same date range, 5th Р18th November.  This set of works includes the full text:

STREET CABINET & POWER INSTALLATION. Excavate to lay approx 5m BT ducts, Lay concrete plinth, Stand cab. Excavate to expose low voltage cable for Power Connection and lay approx 1m duct. POWER engineer to carry out inspection prior to jointing. POWER jointing team to insert cable and execute jointing works. Reinstate, Check and clear site. Also build new PCP next to DSLAM cabinet and lay approx 6m of duct to man hole.

… which shows the planned duration for the works on PCPs 92 and 102 should be long enough to complete the main cabinet siting and connections.

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Cabinet Progress Update

Openreach have confirmed with us that network planning and surveying stages for the FTTC cabinets for Basingstoke PCPs 92, 95 and 102 have now been completed successfully, and they remain on schedule to be ready for customer orders by the end of March 2016.

The three cabinets have now moved to supply chain stage – in addition the the physical cabinet itself, much of the installation work from placement of the cabinet, to pulling in fibre, connecting the cabinet to its PCP, providing power, and commissioning the cabinet, are outsourced to third party suppliers, and all of these pieces of work need to be ordered and scheduled.

Openreach have also now provided some answers to the questions we raised at our August meeting;  these focused on getting around perceived blockers and are mostly overtaken by their announcement that the work on our cabinets is now funded for completion this financial year.  We will publish the responses shortly.

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More positive change… but no news from Openreach!

The good news this week is that the Superfast Openreach “When and Where”¬†site now shows the three cabinets (Basingstoke PCPs 92, 95 and 102) back at the Enabled Area status which means the cabinets are due to be upgraded;¬†¬†they had a few months ago reverted from Enabled Area to Under Review.

EnabledAreaPW_210915
Status for PCP95
EnabledArea_210915
Status for PCP102

We unfortunately as of yet have not had any particular updates or news direct from Openreach, so will chase them again!

 

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Signs on the Ground…

Whilst we’ve yet to hear back from Openreach after our meeting in mid-August, over the August Bank Holiday weekend the first signs of progress appeared at each of the cabinet locations, with white lines on the pavements showing that some surveying work for the planned fibre cabinets has been undertaken.

The cabinet for Everest Park’s PCP102 appears to be going a few paces to the right of the existing cabinet, with an approx. 4m run of ducting being required from the main pavement chamber directly in front of the existing cabinet. It’s not wholly clear from the markings where power will come from, but there is possible a mark for this just behind the planned cabinet location.

Cabinet 102 markings
Location of fibre twin for PCP102, Basingstoke, circled.
PCP 102 view
View from existing PCP to planned fibre twin

For the other two cabinets, the source of power is clearer; PCP95 in Limes Park is set to have its fibre twin a few paces to the left, with power from around the nearby lamp post. Thanks to James for these photographs.

95 markings
Location for PCP95 twin
95 power
… and source of power (just to the left of cabinet location)

And PCP92 in Marnell Park’s fibre twin will be on the opposite side of the road, but only around a meter of ducting from the main pavement chamber seems to be needed, and power looks to be running between the two and easily available also.

PCP 92 markings
Location for PCP92’s fibre twin
PCP 92 view
… nearly missed as on the opposite side of the road to the PCP.

There was also a very temporary update to the BT Wholesale xDSL Checker last week which for the first time forecast speeds and availability of fibre… though within minutes the update and vanished again!

BT BROADBAND AVAILABILITY CHECKER

Address xxxxxxx , BASINGSTOKE, RG24 9xx on Exchange BASINGSTOKE
is served by Cabinet 102
Featured Products
Downstream Line Rate(Mbps)   Upstream Line Rate(Mbps)  Downstream Range(Mbps)  Availability Date

WBC ADSL 2+¬†¬†¬†¬† Up to 2¬†¬† — 1 to 3.5 Available
ADSL Max¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Up to 1.5 — 1 to 2.5 Available
High Low High Low
FTTC Range A (Clean)¬†¬† 80 66¬†¬† 20¬†¬† 20¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 31-Mar-16
FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 56.5 20¬†¬† 17.8 —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 31-Mar-16
WBC ADSL 2+¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Up to 2¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1.5 to 4 Available
ADSL Max¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Up to 1.5 —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1 to 3.5 Available
WBC Fixed Rate¬†¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† — —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Available
Fixed Rate¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† — —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Available

Other Offerings
FTTP on Demand¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 330¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 30¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 31-Mar-16
Fibre Multicast¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†—¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 31-Mar-16
Copper Multicast¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Available

[UPDATE 09/09/2015]
PCP 102 does now have an availability date of Mar 16 on other systems as shown here:

CurrentPCPData

Work has started in the last few days for two more BDUK funded cabinets in Basingstoke, this time PCPs 122 and 129 in the town centre around Alencon Link, presumably supplying many of the flats around that part of town. Hopefully physical construction of our cabinets won’t be too far behind.

Town Centre BDUK Works Sept 15
Roadworks scheduled for Sept 15 to install fibre to PCPs 122 and 129.
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BT and Openreach engagement over PCPs 92, 95 & 102

Thanks to the persistence and perseverance¬†of residents across the PCP 92, 95 and 102 cabinet areas, and our Hampshire County Councillor for Popley, Jane Frankum, we are delighted to report that we today held a very open and¬†engaging¬†2.5 hour meeting on site at Everest Park with BT’s Regional Partnership Director,¬†and with Openreach’s Programme Manager for Superfast Broadband in the South West.

Cutting to the important news for many, Openreach have, as of last night, confirmed funding to enable the three cabinets (92, 95 and 102) in their current financial year (FY15-16), which sets an expectation of the cabinets being ready for service by the end of March 16 (subject of course to any major complications emerging).  Importantly the commitment extends to maintaining communications with the community as the cabinet areas are enabled, providing both positive updates on progress to engage the community (which is likely to drive take-up, so get your orders in quick!), and equally if any complications arise, keep us abreast of the situation and reasons behind any delays.

Openreach are also keen to to review the remainder of the “Hampshire 22” as we have termed them, and will in due course confirm whether each cabinet is in the commercial programme (and if so provide more details as to when it realistically may now be enabled);¬†or alternatively in the BDUK programme; or neither.¬† This will allow the communities involved to take action accordingly, rather than being in the dark and unable to pursue any avenue. We will publish that information as soon as we receive it.

Openreach will also look at the new Persimmon Sherbourne Fields, Charles Church Sherbourne Fields, David Wilson Spiers Meadow¬†and Bovis “Aldermaston Triangle” developments in the Popley/Rooksdown areas and if they discover these aren’t currently being provided with fibre, will try to take this up with the developers concerned.

In due course, and following the lead of other areas such as Oxfordshire, Openreach may route information on the outstanding¬†commercial cabinets via the county council;¬† if you live in such an area and think that this would¬†be a good move (we do!),¬†it is worth taking the matter up with your local councillor, and ask them to raise¬†it with the¬†council’s Superfast¬†team.

Commenting on our research, Openreach stated that they have recently been focussing on completing cabinets which have been stood (installed) for some time but outstanding some works (power, fibre spine, etc), hence the apparent limited work on new cabinets;¬† obviously these in-situ non-live¬†cabinets cause even more frustration for residents than where work hasn’t even started.¬† They were also keen to confirm that the commercial deployment programme has far from stopped, and there are separate permanent teams working on three separate streams; commercial, BDUK, and new-sites; and also cabinets and funding ¬†are reviewed on an at least quarterly basis.

We asked a number of questions around previous delays, and sought assurances that this time the work will be completed to schedule.  The fact that Openreach and BT took the time to meet us goes some way towards this, and it was also made clear our campaign has been escalated to the highest levels.  Financial approval appears to have come from Bill Murphy, Managing Director for Next Generation Access (NGA) at BT, so it will get significant focus, and Openreach will provide us with a further update to the questions raised in due course.

In the coming weeks we’ll also finally populate the rest of our website in anticipation, to clarify the steps to enable the cabinet (you can’t get fibre the day the cabinet is installed!), and to give further information on ordering and upgrading once a cabinet is ‘ready for service’¬†(the ‘fibre fairies’ won’t magically arrive and upgrade your existing broadband, you¬†need to place an order for a new fibre service!).

 

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The madness appears to get worse…

The BT Wholesale xDSL Tracker has updated in the past few days to show the following message for the local cabinets 92 (Marnell Park), 95 (Rooksdown) and Sherfield cabinet 15 (Taylor’s Farm):

FTTC is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Cabinet to be enabled between Apr-16 and Mar-17. Date to be confirmed once the survey is complete..

Previously these cabinets were forecasting end of Sept 15 for availability.

Everest Park cabinet 102 has never shown a forecast date or speeds for fibre and this has not changed.

What is particularly disappointing with this new delay (which also affect other cabinets across the country) is the news here on the Hampshire Superfast Broadband website published today, which states that take-up of fibre in Basingstoke‚Äôs Rooksdown ward is the highest in the county at 68%.¬† Cabinet 95 is of course in the Rooksdown ward and shares with the rest of the locality the same issues of very poor ADSL speeds due to the distance from the exchange, so take up of fibre is not surprising.¬† Almost the whole ward, like Marnell Park, Everest Park and Taylor’s Farm is also made up of relatively expensive (vs. the surrounding area) new build properties, populated by a large number of young families – the people most likely to take and benefit from a fibre broadband package.

It beggars belief therefore that completion of the rollout in these areas is not being prioritised, and instead the rollout to relatively expensive-to-cover, less densely populated areas, many with faster current ADSL speeds, takes priority at taxpayer expense.

The good news is that Openreach and parent BT are starting to take notice of our campaigning efforts, and we are hoping to meet them to discuss the situation face to face shortly.

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(Lack of) Commercial Deployment in Hampshire

With the Openreach’s “Commercial” fibre deployment programme in Hampshire seemingly grounding to a halt, we’d be interested in hearing from people on other cabinets in Hampshire which were due to be enabled commercially, but have not yet been. Our investigations show this to be the following collection of cabinets, but if you’re on another in a similar state, please let us know by email:

[17/08/2015 UPDATE:¬† At our meeting with Openreach on 12th August, they committed to confirm with us whether each of the cabinets listed below is currently in their “commercial” programme, whether it is in the BDUK programme, or neither (in which case the community may look to gap fund it, etc).¬†¬† We expect to receive and publish this information in the next 1-3 weeks, once Openreach have also confirmed each cabinet’s status with the BDUK programme.¬† Thanks also to those on several of the cabinets below who have recently contacted us.]

TownCabinetStatusPhasePostcodeBT Wholesale DateSuperfast Openreach Status
BasingstokeCabinet P20FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 06a 2011RG24 7BHForecast Sep 15EA
BasingstokeCabinet P92FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 10a 2013RG24 9RSForecast Sep 15UR
BasingstokeCabinet P95FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 10a 2013RG24 9GXForecast Sep 15UR
BasingstokeCabinet P102FTTC Planned (exchange ready 25th March 2011)Phase 13a 2015RG24 9GBNo DateUR
Bassett, SouthamptonCabinet P7FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 09a 2012-2013SO16 3NGForecast Sep 15EA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P5FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO18 1DLNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P11FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO17 1RRNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P17FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO14 0SLNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P26FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO18 2DTNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P53FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO17 2LPNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P63FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014SO17 1RSNo DateEA
Hampton, SouthamptonCabinet P69FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 09a 2012-2013SO17 2AHNo DateEA
LymingtonCabinet P2FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 09a 2012-2013SO41 9EYForecast Sep 15EA
PortsmouthCabinet P72FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 11b 2013-2014PO1 2DHNo DateUR
Portsmouth North EndCabinet P51FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 06a 2011PO2 0AZNo Details
RingwoodCabinet P11FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 09b 2012-2013BH24 2ADForecast Sep 15EA
Sherfield on LoddonCabinet P15FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 10a 2013RG27 0AZForecast Sep 15UR
SouthamptonCabinet P60FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 06a 2011SO14 1ZAForecast Sep 15
TitchfieldCabinet P11FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 10a 2013PO14 3EPForecast Dec 15EA
TitchfieldCabinet P5FTTC Planned for 30th June 2015Phase 10a 2013PO14 4BPForecast Dec 15EA
TwyfordCabinet P2FTTC Planned for 30th September 2015Phase 10a 2013SO21 1NJForecast Sep 15UR
WinchesterCabinet P57FTTC Planned for 31st March 2015Phase 09b 2012-2013SO22 4NYForecast Mar 16EA

 

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Openreach not reaching far enough

Understaffed and overstretched is how BT Openreach appear to be, and there are a number of reports online of them only just meeting BDUK targets despite having an opportunity to significantly exceed them. Disappointing, especially for councils who think their schemes could have delivered more, and for residents left without. Perhaps that is why it appears Openreach are 100% focussed on BDUK work and have all but stopped commercial deployment.

Hampshire’s BDUK team have all but confirmed this to us with a post on Twitter, stating “BT will be focusing on BDUK project”, and that Wave 2 of the BDUK scheme (which runs until 2019) will continue without any gap from Wave 1. This is disappointing for the few locations like us who have been promised a commercially-provided service, and where we have a relatively large grouping of properties (if it were a BDUK cabinet enabled to date it would be in the top 10% by number of enabled properties, and that figure is only going to get worse), easy connection as there are so many other enabled cabinets around, and we keep being moved to the back of the queue. It appears to be a classic government case of spend it or lose it, and so the scheme’s objective of getting the most properties connected to Superfast broadband in as quick a time as possible appears to have gone out the window, with schemes struggling to spend their allocated money on reaching fewer and more expensive to target properties before the clock runs out.

The good news on several fronts, is that several local authorities have ditched or relegated Openreach in their Wave 2 schemes; whilst not Hampshire, nearby Berkshire have instead partnered with Gigaclear and Call Flow, and they’re not the first. What this may hopefully do is start to free up Openreach resource, but whether it is retained and redeployed remains to be seen. It is interesting to note that other schemes like Berkshire have also taken to publishing more detailed information, with spreadsheets on their website listing by cabinet number where works are due to take place, or have been delayed or postponed. At least they are open about it, whereas Hampshire County Council tow the BT party line (so to speak!) and are keeping far more schtum.

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