As expected, Openreach had left themselves no spare time to sort out those technical hurdles that invariably crop up in complex projects like this. Their contingency time had been eaten up much earlier by delays authorising roadworks, getting planning submissions in on time, delays with scheduling of sub-contractors. Despite our GU8 Team pushing them hard at every step it came as no surprise to hear from Openreach that the cabinets are not ready. We have just been told that even the admin process for getting the new network Ready For Service will now require extra Openreach management to handle the ISP’s migration of us from cabinet to cabinet. This is doubly infuriating in that we flagged this in November and have been calling for a dedicated Openreach manager to hand-hold the migration and be the point of contact for us as the Pioneers try to get their ISP’s to initiate the upgrades. It seems Openreach don’t have a template for privately-funded partnerships and we are guinea pigs. This is unacceptable.
We escalated this with BT Group to get a much clearer statement as to how they plan to fast-track the process of informing the ISP’s and facilitating the comparatively unusual process of moving each resident from one cabinet to a new one without encountering the barrier of a “computer that says no”. As a result we have seen a new BT Group manager appointed to liaise with us directly throughout the migration phase – to facilitate the transition after installation of the cabinets and to enable us to sign off the project when it is clear the network is working as promised. More on that soon. At the same time we are overseeing, as best we can, the final cabinet installation tasks. Our conference call with Openreach on Thursday will hopefully give us a better idea on timescales, but we are very aware of the slippage.
This Thursday sees a meeting of the Pioneers – to discuss how to prepare their own home networks, and when to approach their ISPs – subject to Openreach completing the hand-over of the cabs to ISPs. Once we see that happen, and Pioneers have successfully connected, then we will release the news to everyone. In the meantime everyone should prepare for the switch.