The lat­est sci­en­tific de­vel­op­ments ex­plained

Computer Shopper - - CONTENTS -

TECH­NOL­OGY FIRM BT is send­ing its fi­bre en­gi­neers out to re­mote parts of the coun­try with fish­ing rods and welling­ton boots in an at­tempt to get to some of the hard­est to reach places.

Northum­ber­land will be swathed in Open­reach en­gi­neers as BT looks to plug an­other ru­ral gap, and some will be us­ing fancy new tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing a ‘Mole plough’ that can dig and lay ca­bles, and then clean up after it­self. In other in­stances less tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions, such as the cast­ing of a fish­ing rod, have been used to get a cable across a river.

Around 90% of Northum­ber­land now has ac­cess to su­per­fast broad­band, ac­cord­ing to BT. This is de­spite some atyp­i­cal ob­sta­cles, in­clud­ing Hadrian’s Wall and a mas­sive pond full of newts.

“Get­ting fi­bre broad­band to homes and busi­nesses in sparsely pop­u­lated ru­ral ar­eas is not easy,” ex­plained Mike Reynolds, Open­reach spokesper­son for the North East.

“We know how the tech­nol­ogy works and we know how to get it from A to B, but that doesn’t fac­tor in rivers with no con­ve­nient bridges, lit­tle or no ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture, an­cient mon­u­ments, pri­vate land or wildlife. Plan­ning and sur­vey­ing is a huge part of our work, but there are still some things you sim­ply can’t plan for.

“When we were build­ing the net­work out to Kirk­whelp­ing­ton, we’d only just solved the prob­lem of rats nest­ing in the un­der­ground cham­bers, when we came across a pond full of great crested newts on land we needed to build a new duct un­der. Things like that cre­ate de­lays, and it’s al­ways at the back of our minds that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are des­per­ate for the tech­nol­ogy to ar­rive.”

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