The latest scientific developments explained
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.”