Superfast comes to Coombe

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Engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach have overcome a number of infrastructure challenges to bring superfast broadband to Coombe, a village which previously had limited access to broadband.

L-R: Mark Morris (Openreach Project Manager), Richard Hutchinson (Superfast Cornwall Project Officer), Guy Daniels (Superfast Cornwall Project Officer) and Julian Cowans (Superfast Cornwall Programme Manager)
L-R: Mark Morris (Openreach Project Manager), Richard Hutchinson (Superfast Cornwall Project Officer), Guy Daniels (Superfast Cornwall Project Officer) and Julian Cowans (Superfast Cornwall Programme Manager)

News of the enablement at Coombe has been greeted with enthusiasm by the local community, with strong levels of take-up being reported among businesses and consumers.

The village of Coombe is served by a telephone exchange 7km away at the other side of Grampound Road. Around 20 years ago, the demand for more telephone lines in the village was met by installing a point-point microwave radio link from a pole on a hill north east of the village, linking directly back to the exchange building.

However, the microwave link prevented some villagers from receiving broadband services as broadband ADSL requires a copper line from the exchange to the customer. While it was possible to provide a small copper cable to Coombe from an existing location nearby, it only had enough capacity for about fifty customers.

Providing a bigger cable along the narrow lane back to Grampound Road would have required several kilometres of new underground duct, and the small number of customers who would benefit could not support the high cost of this work. Those who could get broadband using the copper cable were limited to slow speeds because of the long distance back to the exchange building.

Openreach explored a variety of routes to get to the village and, ultimately, 17km of fibre was installed, of which 1km consisted of brand new poles for aerial fibre. The project took eleven months of intensive work to complete involving 14 different departments.

Nigel Ashcroft MBE, Superfast Cornwall programme director for Cornwall Development Company, said: “A tremendous effort was made by the engineering team to deliver fibre to residents and businesses in Coombe.

“Their perseverance in innovating and troubleshooting against a multitude of infrastructure challenges across Cornwall has been paramount to the success of the programme and is testament to the progress we’re achieving so far.”

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