There are several different tasks involved in upgrading your local cabinet to fibre broadband which means it doesn’t always go smoothly. It’s often not until engineers are in the ground that unexpected issues pop up which can delay or cause work to be halted altogether.
Some underground ducts will have been buried for years, so it’s no surprise that surveys can sometimes unearth a few unanticipated challenges. Often ducts have collapsed or been damaged over the years; or the duct routes themselves may be full of existing cables or new ducts need to be built where they don’t already exist. Obviously any problems have to be sorted out before any fibre can be laid to these ducts. In the worst case, the ducts cannot be used at all and planning permission has to be requested for overlay. Throw in the requirement to have traffic management (such as temporary traffic lights, ‘stop go’ boards, etc.) and it’s easy to see how one blockage can cause a delay of several weeks.
Getting power to the cabinet can also be particularly challenging. The majority of mains and back-up power supplies in exchanges will need to be upgraded, as the new equipment will place significant demands on them. This means working with a local power company when planning the cabinet and organising a dig to expose the power cable and connect the cabinet up at the same time that the cabinet is built. Problems occur when connections aren’t where the records show and, in a small number of cases, there are no suitable connection points within 50 metres of the cabinet. This may mean the power company have to build a new one – which can take months, incurring delays to timescales.
Find out more about the issues engineers face under the ‘It’s not always straightforward’ section.