The key stages, from planning to go live
From the moment you see your exchange appear on the rollout plans, it could be up to 15 months before it's ready to supply superfast fibre broadband. Why? Well, here's what we have to do...
Ensuring quality and quantity
It's a big project and timescales are tight. But there are no shortcuts. That means we need to get everything right first time. So we have to be 100% sure that the equipment we use is up to the job. And to do that, we check everything regularly. Take the new street cabinets, for example:
Planning and placing
If you think a new street cabinet just arrives on a van, you plug it in and off you go – think again!
The whole process takes an average of three months to complete. We start by assessing the best place for the new cabinet to sit, working within 100 metres of an existing site. Council planning approval is also needed, which can take between 28 and 56 days.
The cabinet is then built on-site, including putting in a concrete base and a connection to the electricity supply. While this is happening, a fibre link is built from the local exchange, the new cabinet gets an electric meter fitted and the new and existing cabinets are linked by a copper cable.
Building and testing
Cabinet build quality is checked periodically throughout deployment. At the same time, all of our contractors and suppliers check every cabinet built.
And of top of that, a joint team from Openreach and each of our suppliers independently checks completed Dslams before they go live.
All 240v power connections are tested by a qualified electrician to meet all the relevant safety regulations, particularly earthing the cabinet shell and any other BT structure within five metres of the new network.
Fibre tests, or light tests as they are known, are completed by a precision test officer from the telephone exchange to the final termination point. The tests check that all the connections are up to the required standard and that the fibres are all routed to the correct ports.
We then hand the individual cabinet to the commissioning teams who carry out further 'ready for service' checks with the Access Operations Centre (AOC) to ensure everything is working and that the cabinet can be seen by the AOC for in-life service monitoring.