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Lost broadband and spliced mice: Broadband Rollout Roundup 19/1/2013

Forget the snow outside, here’s the week where BT lost a Black Country town, two more Norfolk church spires became broadband hubs, and fibre-digging farmers faced a natural disaster.

Welcome to Broadband Rollout Roundup for the week ending January 1, 2013

BT brings FTTC to 52,000 Northern and Midlands homes

Openreach took advantage of the January decline in rain to complete work on FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) upgrades to 52,100 homes and businesses.

This week’s up-to-80Mbps upgrades are mostly in the North-West of England, with a handful in the Black Country.

The upgrade for Willenhall is particularly impressive since BT’s press office seems to think it’s actually part of Coventry – 30 miles away on the other side of Birmingham – complete with a press release containing quotes from Coventry City Council.

So here they are:

  • Ellesmere Port: 12,000
  • Willenhall: 2,500
  • Hesketh Bank, Lancashire: 3,800
  • Claughton, Birkenhead: 18,800
  • Mountwood, Birkenhead: 6,700
  • Westhoughton: 8,300
Lost broadband and spliced mice: Broadband Rollout Roundup 19/1/2013
Willenhall: not in Coventry

In-spiring broadband innovation continues in Norfolk

WiSpire is one of our favourite rural broadband schemes, if only for the social poetry of turning villages’ former centre of knowledge into modern information gateways.

Two more church spires have been switched on as active nodes in the WiSpire wireless network: Ashill and Carbrooke, bringing the total to 11, with 16 in the pipeline.

WiSpire’s hub is Norwich Cathedral, and its signal is available to anyone with line of sight from their homes to the activated church spires.

B4RN learns a mousey lesson

Anyone who’s tackled a domestic mouse problem will know that wire wool is a vital weapon in controlling the little blighters, who will chew anything – including fibre optic cable.

B4RN (Broadband For The Rural North) volunteers were surprised to find their second village connection was a very dark fibre when they started pre-launch testing at Arkholme village hall.

Tests showed a break in the fibre, but first investigations found no damage to the ducting – until they opened it up and found rodent nibbling had ruined a generous chunk.

Cue an emergency re-splicing operation, and added preventative measures: wire wool and builders’ foam to seal the duct and blunt the gnashers of mice seeking a warm dry underground home.

For more details, press ‘play’ on their video about what coordinator Chris Conder said was ‘a fantastic lesson for us, and has saved us many thousands of pounds as this won’t be replicated elsewhere’.

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