Friday 12 February 2016

An update about the lack of updates

So December 2015 came and went, and despite asking to be "Kept in the Loop", Digital Scotland quietly changed the estimated due date for 'fibre' broadband in Coldingham to June 2016.  I don't call that being "kept in the loop".

Still, we're told constantly that with an engineering project of such size, scale and complexity that estimated dates do change, and I accept that.  However, people who are given information can make well informed decisions.  Decisions such as:  Should I invest in a 4G solution to boost my home broadband speeds?  or Should I sit it out and wait for Digital Scotland and Openreach to build the 'fibre' infrastructure?  If I DO sit it out and wait, what kind of speeds should I expect?  Where will the cabinet likely be?  Will Openreach be deploying any Fibre to the Premises?

One would hope that as the winning contractor for the Digital Scotland project, Openreach are providing regular updates to these kind of questions to their customer.   So it wouldn't be too much of a stretch expect that those updates are in turn passed onto the end customer, the tax payer, the people actually funding much of the roll-out - would it?

Well, it seems that despite me asking before Christmas, there is no news from Openreach on the status of Coldingham exchange.  It worries me that if a simple request for information takes longer than 6 weeks to turn around, what hope do we have that such a complex and sizable project is being managed efficiently?  I suspect that the 'status' information I receive won't be much more than I'm about to tell you here.

For those of us waiting, it remains for me to dig for information myself and cling to any snippets that come from 3rd party sources.  One such place is the CodeLook website.  Try entering 'coldingham' as a 'locality' and follow links for 'All Exchanges' then 'All Fibre Cabinets'.  Take the information here with a pinch of salt, but for the 2 cabinets that we are expecting (St Abbs and Coldingham centre) it looks like we are in the Field Survey phase.  A phase which means Openreach engineers are in the village looking at where to place equipment and ensuring that their design plans from the previous stage match with the reality on (and in) the ground.  It's the 3rd of 7 phases that lead to a full operating service and they are described here in more detail.  You'll also see that October is mentioned as a go-live date, I'm not sure how accurate that is, but I'm inclined to trust it more than the June 2016 date mentioned by Digital Scotland.  However, don't expect to find this intricate level of detail on any Digital Scotland, or Openreach website, if knowledge is power, then we're living in the dark (ages)!

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