Broadband East Riding lay record breaking 45 mile long
The Broadband East Riding project team has built the longest continuous stretch of fibre optic cable or ‘spine’ in the UK to make high-speed broadband available to more than 1,500 households and businesses across the East Riding.
Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, had hoped to lay fibre optic cable in service tunnels underneath the Dutch River, at South Goole Docks, to connect up villages south of the River Ouse with superfast broadband. But the huge challenges presented by the aquatic route necessitated a major detour.
Although more than 20 fibre cabinets were already working in Goole, a new plan was needed to reach the remaining three fibre cabinets serving more than 1000 premises in villages south of the river and four in Reedness, serving 580 premises.
Carolyn Escreet, Openreach senior project manager for Broadband East Riding, explained: “Going under the river would have been a task in itself as we would have had to use specially trained deep sea divers to access the tunnels, which are 40 feet down.And there would have been major problems if the tunnels were ever damaged or needed repairs.
“We explored a number of alternative routes, including trying to get fibre into a duct on the side of a railway bridge which crosses the Dutch River further down, but the duct wasfull with existing cables. Replacing it would have meant closing the railway line causing major disruption so that wasn’t an option either.”
Determined to connect up the remaining villages, BT planners designed a route, which involved a record breaking 45-miles of fibre ‘spine’ via Eastoft, Crowle and Thorne to the exchange in Hatfield Woodhouse without crossing the river. More fibre cable was then laid on a link between Hatfield and the main exchange in Snaith.
Engineering co-ordinator Gav Tate, who helped build the spine, said: “This is the longest continuous fibre spine anywhere in the country. To ensure it worked effectively we had to tweak the electronic equipment in the exchange and in the connected cabinets to boost the broadband signal and ensure it would work properly over that distance. We also had to check every fibre joint was perfectly aligned to avoid any tiny loss in signal. It took a lot of hard work, but all the cabinets are now connected up and are working perfectly, so it was worth it in the end.”
Broadband East Riding, a partnership between East Riding of Yorkshire Council and BT, has already made fibre broadband available to more than 42,000 properties under the first phase of the programme. The second phase of the project will see an additional 4,500 properties getting access to superfast broadband by December 2017.
In the East Riding around 240 fibre cabinets have been enabled, connected by more than 180 miles of underground fibre duct. And more than 40 exchange areas are now ‘live’ with fibre broadband.
Openreach’s network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so households and businesses in the East Riding can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing from a wide range of service providers.
For up to date information on available business support and the roll-out, visit