Oh, seriously people….

It’s not the damn phone lines:

Ministers have launched a £1bn auction for thousands of miles of phone lines running alongside Britain’s railways, in a move they hope will improve train services while boosting broadband speeds for millions of homes.

Private sector bidders will have the chance to upgrade 10,000 miles of cables, while also building 250 new mobile phone masts close to train lines. The investment could help the Government meet its commitments to drastically improve rural broadband and eradicate so-called 5G “notspots”.

It’s not the phone lines, it’s the rights of way. The same reason Cable and Wireless bought the London Hydraulic Power Company – so they could stick ferrets pulling cables down those pipes.

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8 thoughts on “Oh, seriously people….”

  1. thousands of miles of phone lines running alongside Britain’s railways, in a move they hope will improve train services

    Amazing what you can learn these days. Does the article go on to explain how phone lines make trains run on time…?

  2. I had the idea of laying fibre along railway tracks nearly 30 years ago. Have they only just got around to it ?

  3. MC, whilst the services are at the mercy of Network Fail it is highly unlikely the punctuality will improve.

    During the war Italy was short of coal to power their trains so Mussolini ordered them to use herbs, ensuring, for the first time, the trains ran on thyme.. I’ll get me coat.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    while also building 250 new mobile phone masts close to train lines

    I’ve worked on this problem on and off for the best part of 30 years, one project convened by a Secretary of State who took a personal interest.

    It ain’t gonna happen because rail safety engineers trump commercial considerations and the costs of those masts are very expensive at the best of time. Its not just the problem of getting land in the right place to meet the coverage requirements, once you’ve got it providing power and backhaul connections can be insurmountable.

    I had the idea of laying fibre along railway tracks nearly 30 years ago. Have they only just got around to it ?

    It has been installed for that long and is used in a number of core networks, but again rail safety trumps telecoms engineering so its been difficult to commercialise. There are capacity constraints as well so this area of the project might make a good investment and its easier to get round safety concerns.

    There might even be an opportunity to extend it to smaller stations and provide competition to BT, but BT are very good at putting obstacles in the way so I’d want to read the bidding documets quite closely before committing.

  5. If they are talking about really rural places, they should have done this before Beeching removed all those rural tracks!

  6. Train derails, and a whole village loses broadband for a week while the Rail Accident Investigation Branch investigates.

    On a more mundane level, every rail engineering job becomes more expensive because you need a fibre-optic engineer on-site too.

  7. Came across this issue working with a metro system where it ran through prime city areas, the estimate for legal fees to amend all the various rights of way etc was in the millions, that was before installing anything and as mentioned above rail systems tend to be very stringent about access rights.
    All the extensions last 15 years were sensible enough to include rights to run cable up front, but even then have access issues

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