More Delay to Superfast Broadband in Winterbourne Stoke

Seemingly, not good news! Yesterday, we were alerted by villager Terry Young to the probability that we face a further delay to the provision of superfast fibre broadband to the village.  The Parish Council had been assured by BT back in the autumn of 2015 that the installation would be complete by late 2016 and that you would be able to sign up for the service in early 2017.   In the summer, as a result of Wiltshire Online and BT sending out leaflets saying you could already get the service when you plainly couldn’t, the Parish Council recontacted BT at senior level for an update.  We were re-assured that although there had been a slight slippage, maybe 3 months, we were in the build phase and things were moving forward.  This statement was reinforced because we were made aware that BT had sought, and been granted,  a wayleave for a new DSLAM to be situated close to the existing PCP (green box) on the A303.


In emails to Terry, Wiltshire Online have made the following claim:

“Unfortunately there has been a delay.  The surveying has thrown up an issue as a large length of existing infrastructure is buried directly into the ground so there is no existing ducting we can utilise. We are looking to install 1.7km of new ducting and the land this will need to cross is private land.  The team are working on the route and any necessary wayleaves that might be needed.”

The exchange goes on to say:

“It is certainly our intention to bring fibre to Winterbourne Stoke however, as my colleague Sarah has said we need to find a new route and get agreement from the relevant land owners which, depending on how receptive they are, can be a long process.  I honestly cannot say what timescale we are looking at, it is a significant length of new ducting but of course it is none of our interests to delay the build.
 I would suggest contacting us again in the new year when we are likely to have a better idea of the proposed route and the challenge we face.”

Some of you are aware of the inaccuracy of this claim.  To save you having to read a lot of historical material, here is our email to Wiltshire Council earlier today:

“Apologies if this duplicates my telephone message to some degree – I wasn’t sure that the Wiltshire Council switchboard had put me through to the correct line…

Yesterday, I received an email from a villager, Terry Young, with whom I believe you have been having an email exchange on the subject of bringing superfast broadband to Winterbourne Stoke. The content of the emails was both alarming and depressing as they told a very different story to that we have had previously.

At the end of 2015, we were told by BT that fiber was being brought to the village and that it would be completed by late 2016/early 2017. In the summer, due to some confusion caused by incorrect statements (and leafletting campaign) being made about superfast broadband availability in the village by both BT and Wiltshire Online, we were re-assuredby BT that things were still moving forward, that we were now in the “build” phase but there had been a slight delay and that we should expect the work to be completed in Q1 2017. We were also encouraged by the fact the BT had sought, and been rapidly granted, wayleaves for the new DSLAM to be situated on the A303.

I wrote to Bill Murphy back in October of this year to seek an update and he had passed this on to Kevin Rutterford for action, though despite a chaser, the Parish Council are still waiting for this.

Your emails to Terry Young suggest the delay is likely to be considerably longer than this with no time frame given. I am particularly concerned by the mention of the need to provide 1.7km of new ducting, the inference being that this is something that has only recently come to light. Nothing could be further from the truth as both BT and Wiltshire Council have been aware of the state of the ducting issue since at least August 2008 – as internal BT emails obtained under the Data Protection Act clearly show. Both Ian Baker and Bill Murphy discussed this issue with me, in the course of a discussion on the failing aluminium cabling between the village and the exchange, at a meeting in Warminster in May 2013.

Consequently, I would be very grateful for a full update on the situation, an explanation as to why it has taken so long to understand the ducting issues and a very, very clear timeline to show to the Parish Council and parishioners, what work needs to be done, when it will be completed by and when people will be able to sign up for a reasonable broadband  service. Furthermore, the Parish Council would like monthly updates on progress or lack thereof.

It would also be helpful to know of potential routes so that we might intercede on wayleave issues, if that is needed! Indeed, if there is an issue with wayleaves in the Parish, I am surprised that you have not yet brought this to our attention.”

We will keep you updated with the responses we receive from all parties.  We look forward to receiving some comments on the issue!

Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council