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Radar technology helps speed up broadband upgrade

Openreach is aiming to deliver fibre-optic cables directly to more than 20,000 premises in Salisbury.

Openreach (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Openreach (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Special technology is being used for the first time to speed up deployment of fibre-to-premises broadband in a city where an entire network is being upgraded.

Openreach said its engineers will deploy ground-penetrating radar technology in Salisbury to clear routes for new cables without any digging.

The digital business network is aiming to deliver fibre-optic cables directly to more than 20,000 premises in the city, to be followed by other locations across the country.

Openreach’s chief engineer Andy Whale said: “This is the first location in the UK where we’re aiming to upgrade an entire city network in a single year, so it’s a hugely ambitious project, but being able to use time and cost-saving innovations like radar and microducting, combined with the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams, means that we can have more confidence that it’s achievable.

“Microducting allows 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 of 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.”

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