Eastbourne streets left with CityFibre disruption for weeks

Residents in Eastbourne have been left with unfinished CityFibre work which is taking much longer to complete than expected.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 3:23 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 4:17 pm

Robert Robinson, speaking on behalf of a resident on Pococks Road, said CityFibre workers have been on and off the street for the last month or so.

CityFibre is currently in the middle of a £26 million transformation project in Eastbourne as part of its nationwide plan to replace the country’s ageing copper-based networks with gigabit-capable full fibre connectivity.

Completion of this project is expected to boost business productivity and innovation, deliver millions in economic benefits and provide a platform for a new generation of ‘smart city’ applications and the roll-out of 5G mobile services.

Pococks Road. Photo from Robert Robinson. SUS-210206-163353001

Mr Robinson said, “Before work began, residents received an information card from CityFibre which advised that work outside each property would be completed within two working days.”

Mr Robinson said the work is carried out in three stages and residents are still waiting for the final stage, the reinstatement of the pavement and drive ways, to be completed.

In regards to this final stage delay, he said CityFibre has told him the team which do this are ‘behind programme’.

On top of this, Mr Robinson said telephone lines of several properties were cut during the installation phase.

Pococks Road. Photo from Robert Robinson.

He said, “After knowingly cutting through the telephone cables CityFibre made no attempt to speak to the home owners to check that the telephones were still working.”

Mr Robinson said, “In simple terms CityFibre are simply not doing what they promised to do.”

JC James, a resident in Bakewell Road, called the process a ‘shambolic fiasco’.

She said, “For the last three weeks Motcombe Road/Lane has been fenced off on one side while CityFibre are laying cables. On top of that we have white vans and trucks parked causing problems for through traffic.

Pococks Road. Photo from Robert Robinson.

“They are now starting in our road but have not cleared Motcombe Road yet. We went though this rigmarole when Lightning Fibre were doing the same thing.”

Mrs James said the work limits access to the street, which means black bins couldn’t be collected this week.

She added she had also received a letter about the work but despite being told it would take a week to complete, she said, “Motcombe Road is still fenced off after nearly three weeks.”

Since raising the issue, Mr Robertson said on June 3 CityFibre workers returned to the street to start the final stage of work.

Adrian Smith, CityFibre’s city manager for Eastbourne, said, “CityFibre is investing at least £26m to deliver a town-wide full fibre network that will future-proof Eastbourne’s digital capabilities for decades to come.

“This is a major undertaking, which is why, throughout all builds, we work closely with our contractor and the local council to ensure all works meet the high standards expected.

“As we build our full fibre networks, we endeavour to limit our time outside any one property to 48 hours if possible. However, it can sometimes take longer and on this occasion we’ve encountered a number of unforeseen circumstances.

“Due to the pandemic, there is currently a shortage of specific building materials which has made it more difficult than usual to source the cement and slabs required for the reinstatement works.

“We have also encountered issues with telephone cables which had been installed at too shallow a depth. These are now in the process of being repaired by the provider who owns this infrastructure.

“To avoid any further issues with the telephone cables, the dig is progressing at a slower pace than usual.

“However, it is still our aim to complete works in as short a time as possible and we’re doing everything we can to manage disruption.

“We want to thank Eastbourne residents for their patience and are very sorry for any delay or inconvenience caused.”