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Statement from Full Fibre regarding telegraph poles in Leominster

Full Fibre Ltd is investing in delivering new Full Fibre infrastructure across the whole town of Leominster, in order to enable the latest and best technology for its residents and the community. The UK’s full-fibre coverage is currently lower than all EU countries except for Greece, Belgium and Cyprus. However, the Government aims to rectify this and have stated their ambition of achieving gigabit capable services to at least 85% of residents and businesses across the UK by 2025. Therefore, we are working hard to enable Leominster, who has previously been overlooked by other providers, to achieve this goal and bring the benefits as quickly and with as little disruption as possible.

Fibre-optic broadband is, rather than stopping at the cabinet (that green box on your street), fibre cables are taken straight into your home or business, resulting in a faster and seamless internet connection. Unlike copper, fibre cables can withstand consistent stress no matter the time or weather conditions and will not decay over the years either, making it fully future proof.

Currently around 21% of the UK have access to FTTP making Leominster ahead of the curve and one of the 1st towns in the UK to have complete FTTP coverage by the end of the year. The coronavirus pandemic, has further highlighted the need for widely available and reliable connectivity as it has forced large scale remote working, learning and entertainment. As restrictions begin to ease, many residents and businesses are choosing to continue with remote working, as it provides a better work-life balance with less commute time and more time at home with loved ones.

With fibre straight to the premise (FTTP) your household or business can enjoy;

  • Download large files and your favourite games in minutes.
  • Flawless video calls with loved ones or Teams meetings with colleagues.
  • Smooth streaming of films and music for the family to enjoy in seconds.
  • A reliable connection that can reach every room in the house – no more fighting over the remote!
  • Access online education and resources without having to stare at the buffering icon on your screen.

As well as transforming your home or business, research commissioned by Ofcom in 2018 showed that broadband investment has contributed significantly to the UK economy over the last 15 years. Most agree that continuing investment in new full fibre networks will continue to bring economic and societal benefits, including enhanced employment and business opportunities in the areas that we are building. The price of houses in communities with a full fibre network can expect to increase by at least £3000-5000, as more people move away from larger cities as they work from home permanently.

As of yet, there is no date for switching off the copper network. The timing depends on the pace of new gigabit-capable network roll-out. In 2018, the Government said it would expect switchover to start when a “significant proportion” of the population has taken-up new fibre services. Switching off the copper network would require all premises and devices to have access to a non-copper-based connection and to have switched to services on those new networks.

Having surveyed your current telecoms infrastructure, your area is served by old direct bury (cables dug straight into the ground) method of provision. This is poor practice and not something that enables residents and business to access new Full Fibre service without significant cost to them, delay in delivery and disruption to having to dig up paths/driveways and the local street.

Our method of deployment has therefore been chosen as Pole delivery in your area, to provide cost-effective and accessible service for all in the community. We have conducted a full survey and located these in the positions that produce lowest possible impact to the residents and environment, as well as the physical constraints of network delivery. By using telegraph poles in areas where an existing network is direct buried is that it is far less intrusive than the alternative of installing underground ducting, chambers and a complete network build which can result in road closures and mass disruption to an area for an extended period of time. Therefore, installing these telegraph poles is not only the most cost-effective method it is also, by far, the least intrusive approach, the only other options are digging up every drive and garden to get the cable to the property wall or not installing anything in these areas.

Leominster currently is served by 3 methods:

  • Duct to the property – Openreach has a duct (a plastic tube) underground that goes from a small chamber in the street directly to the property.  All of the newer properties are connected via this method and the majority of the business premises.
  • Direct Bury armored cable – Prior to internet being an option when only telephone services were delivered down the lines, Openreach (BT/GPO) installed a cable that is buried in the ground, this is an armored (strengthen) cable.  This option was taken to reduce installation time, reduce cost and because it was more than able for the telephone service.
  • Telegraph pole – Currently Leominster has 441 Openreach poles within the town (as well as a similar number of power poles, Openreach and Western Power can and do share poles but it is not a common occurrence).  These are a combination of wooden poles and hollow metal poles (both can be witnessed in Caswell Crescent & around Croft Street).

To identify the location of the poles a long detailed process is followed, initially they are desktop planned, during this process they can identify the underground services (like gas pipes and electric cables) and place the poles in an optimum location to deliver to the most properties possible (reducing the overall number of poles).

Following this process an engineer attends sites and further optimizes by considering local property windows and outlook as well as trees and they do a physical survey of the underground services to ensure we will not affect any of the current services.

Finally this returns to the desktop planners to confirm with the visuals and ‘on the ground’ information that they remain the optimum locations.

Full Fibre remain responsible for any foliage around our poles and will attend site to trim trees/remove branches that could affect the Fibre service to your property.  We are wholesale providers (we own the network, to purchase the service you order from an ISP, currently found on www.ineedfibre.com), maintaining the network so all the customer get the most reliable, high speed internet connection they expect from Fibre is critical our highest priority.

The government is committed to getting fibre to all (the are starting to ‘turn off’ copper in 2025, so if Full Fibre ignore the properties someone will build them), and although the date of delivery for this has altered it is still very much on the agenda, to enable operators like us to achieve this they altered the telecommunications code – Digital Economy Act 2017 (legislation.gov.uk) allowing us (under regulation) to install infrastructure (like poles) without following the traditional planning route.  This was done both to speed up the fibre delivery to the UK but also to encourage network builders to work with communities.

If you have any comments or complaints please contact Full Fibre directly:

email – enquiries@fullfibre.co

Phone – 01392 793 127