Engineers swap holes for poles to link up remote hamlet with Ultrafast broadband
and businesses in Howtown now have access to some of the fastest broadband
speeds in Cumbria – after engineers found a low-tech solution to link them up
with fibre. The tourist hotspot had previously proven beyond the reach of high
speed fibre broadband, separated from the nearest telephone exchange by a 2km
stretch of challenging fellside.
engineers from Openreach came up with a solution by hanging a fibre optic cable
from a string of specially built telegraph poles. The cable was then split out
and fed directly to the 15 individual households and businesses in the hamlet –
using FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) technology.
senior operations manager, Matt Fishwick explained: "Some areas were completely
inaccessible to the vehicles and equipment needed to lay fibre in the ground.
The only way round it was to hang the fibre cable from poles. But there weren’t
any poles to hitch it to so we had to erect several new poles along the
engineers with these 10m long poles which each weigh about 300kg, over their
backs walking up the fell for about a mile. There are some tracks but you can’t
get a vehicle up there so the only way of doing it is by hand. Some serious
heavy lifting was involved.”
also had the task of connecting up the overhead fibre link with the cable
running back to the telephone exchange in Pooley Bridge. More than 4km of fibre
spine was put in place using newly built or existing roadside ducts. Blockages
in the ducts had to be cleared, with giant de-silting machinery brought in to
clear debris washed into the ducts by rainfall over the years.
business due to benefit from fibre is the Howtown Hotel. Owner David Baldry
commented: "Although technology is not at the forefront of our business, having
fibre broadband will most certainly be a welcome addition for tearoom visitors
as well as those families who come to our self-catering cottages throughout the
year, wishing to stay in touch with family and friends.”
struggling with broadband speeds who are not included in a plan can visit www.communityfibre.com to find how to help
bring superfast broadband to their local area.