Radars mean fewer road closures in Salisbury broadband upgrade

Openreach Salisbury Broadband Radar June 2019

Published at 1:02pm 10th June 2019.

New technology will minimise the need for roads to be dug up as superfast internet connections are rolled out here.

Engineers from Openreach have been trialling 'ground penetrating radar (GPR)' and Salisbury is the first place it's been used in practice.

We're told it speeds up the process and minimises disruption as they put in new broadband cabling.

Openreach Salisbury Broadband Radar June 2019
The new technology will be used in Salisbury before anywhere else in the country

HOW DOES GPR WORK?

The radars check for any underground pipes, cables, or other infrastructure to make sure there's room for the new connections and that the existing ones won't be disturbed.

It also means the checks can be done WITHOUT the need for drilling, closing roads so they can be dug up and causing disruption to local people.

Openreach Salisbury Broadband Radar June 2019
The radar gives engineers extra information about where they're working

Salisbury's the first place to benefit, as the city's first entire city in the country to be getting the top internet connections.

130 homes in Bemerton will have their cabling upgraded using this method in the coming weeks.

Openreach's Chief Engineer Andy Whale, said:

"It's a hugely ambitious project, but being able to use time and cost saving innovations like radar and micro ducting, combined with the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams - means that we can have more confident that it's achievable. We're constantly looking at ways of improving and evolving the build process, and these are just the latest additions to our innovations toolkit.

"New techniques like micro ducting allow our teams to install new cables much more quickly - up to 300 metres each day. The technique is also less disruptive for local residents, reducing the amount building work - road works and all the associated disruption - by about 50%, and it also uses fewer resources so it helps to reduce our costs and build times.

"Using radar also makes the whole process safer. We're digging into pavements that have other utilities like electricity, gas and water buried underneath. The last thing we want to do is cut off people's supply by accidentally damaging a cable, so GPR means we can keep that risk to an absolute minimum."

Openreach Salisbury Broadband Radar June 2019
The new equipment will be used by Openreach in Bemerton very soon

HOW QUICKLY WILL THE WORK BE COMPLETED?

Openreach estimated that 20,000 premises in Salisbury will have new fibre optic broadband cables within a year.

They've put a target date of April 2020 to get the connections ready for use.

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