Project Update #7

March 23rd 2020

 

This update has been drafted for a while as we’ve been waiting on good news on 2 fronts before sending it…

Firstly its’ stopped raining!! 

Secondly the Upton & Huish Champflower Project has been finally been approved by DCMS (after 4.5 months)!

While this is exactly the news we have all been waiting for, it comes at a time of huge uncertainty, with the country facing some very difficult months ahead. We will continue to build the network you desperately need for as long as we are able too. Fortunately all our staff working on the project are local, and our supply chain are confident they will be able to continue to deliver, but we will continue to review as the situation develops.

Our current procedure is to avoid close contact with home owners and travel to site separately where possible. Generally we are only working on the exterior of properties until such time as we can go live on your property. If any property owner is isolating and symptomatic, please let us know and we will make separate arrangements with you.

We have confirmed with various agencies that we are able to & should proceed with construction of the network where possible as an essential service, providing it is safe to do so and our staff have no symptoms. We are also looking at options for self-install kits for homeowners once we have the fibre connected to the outside of the property, to further limit contact with residents if required.
Build News

We’ve invested in some new plant to aid the build around Skilgate (& beyond), specifically a Mini Plough that speeds up duct installation on the final drops to properties. It has already been put to good use around the village and you may well see it in your garden soon.
 
You can see this in action here:

Area Updates

Skilgate
We have been working around the village, installing the final drops to homes, don’t worry if we’ve not reached you yet, we have been focusing on the more complex and time consuming sections, and the order of work will not impact live connections.
The main fibre has moved through the bog below Surridge Farm; some of you will have heard tales of the chest-deep mud we had to operate in here, it was less than fun! With the current sunshine, the fields have dried out well, and we are ploughing again this week, and will then blow in the fibre and start splicing.
The Highways approval for the slot cutting has been submitted to Somerset County Council for the route from below Post Lane / Bowdens round to the Village Hall, this has been held up due to Highways transfering to working from home arrangements over the last couple of weeks.
All being well, we will be able to carry this out under stop / go traffic arrangements due to the low traffic volumes, however we do not know if this will be allowed to proceed under the current isolation conditions. We will update you as soon as we know more and have a clear answer from Highways.
We are hoping that we can start connecting homes in the village in the next 2-3 weeks should the weather hold, rest assured we will work as quickly as possible.

Upton & Huish Champflower

Following approval of the project funding today we will start applications for vouchers for those who have signed up and agreed to apply immediately.
If you would like a conversation about this prior to our applying please email us and we will book a timeslot with you.

Unfortunately it isn’t going to be possible to arrange a public meeting again for the foreseeable future. It would be very helpful if you can share information about the scheme with neighbours and friends in the area, we will also look at mailing properties who have not yet signed up or registered interest. Your help with this would be much appreciated.
We have started putting together a list of Frequently Asked Questions and will be posting this online and sharing via email in the coming weeks.
We’ve arranged some of the routes for this project already and will be able to start building as soon as we complete the edges of Skilgate, we’ll be ramping up the final planning and route agreements in the coming weeks.

If we have applied for your voucher we will email you to let you know, so you can watch out for the validation email which generally goes directly to spam / junk folders. If you are able to validate these promptly it would aid our administration. Businesses / Holiday properties will need to provide evidence and we will contact you for this information to complete your voucher application.

Clatworthy

The project plan has been submitted to DCMS for approval for the Clatworthy area, this includes the village and all properties surrounding the reservoir, upto and including Raleigh’s Cross.
We expect to have further updates on this project towards the end of May. Hopefully DCMS have improved their internal processes and can reach approval in less time than the Upton scheme took.

Chipstable, Raddington & Waterrow

Following discussions with DCMS we will be submitting project plans for each community separately, we are hoping to submit Chipstable and Raddington projects in the next few weeks, with Watterow shortly afterwards.
 
Other areas
 
We continue to look at expansion beyond these areas and while it will be some time before we are able to do so it is still worth registering interest with us.
 
Register Interest or Sign Up at
 
 
Stay safe everyone, and if anyone needs any assistance in these difficult times please just ask and we will try to help if we can.

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