BT builds record-breaking fibre stretch to get around Yorkshire river
A government funded project in Yorkshire has built the longest continuous stretch of fibre in the UK, taking superfast broadband to more than 1,500 homes and businesses.
Engineers working on the project in East Riding of Yorkshire laid the record-breaking fibre 'spine' after they were forced to detour around the River Ouse to connect premises in Goole and nearby villages.
The Broadband East Riding project had hoped to lay fibre cable in service tunnels underneath the Dutch River at South Goole Docks to connect up villages south of the river.
But despite more than 20 fibre cabinets already live in Goole, they had to come up with a new plan to reach the remaining three serving more than 1,000 in villages south of the river and four in Reedness for 580 premises.
Carolyn Escreet, Openreach senior project manager for Broadband East Riding, said: “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 40ft 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 was full with existing cables.
“Replacing it would have meant closing the railway line causing major disruption so that wasn’t an option either.”
Instead, a route was designed that included a record-breaking 45 miles of fibre ‘spine’ via Eastoft, Crowle and Thorne to the exchange in Hatfield Woodhouse without crossing the river, with more cable laid between Hatfield and the main exchange in Snaith.
'Worth it in the end'
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 made fibre broadband available to more than 42,000 properties as part of the programme’s first phase.
The second phase will see an extra 4,500 properties get access to fibre broadband by December 2017.
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