A company that is digging up parts of Milton Keynes to connect residents and businesses to superfast fibre broadband has been accused of creating a mess across the city.
Milton Keynes Council has revealed that it receives four enquiries or complaints about CityFibre works each week – about one third of all the complaints or enquiries it receives.
These have totalled 106 out of 357 in the last six months, a council spokesman revealed.
CityFibre’s installations, currently between 70-100 metres of cable for each of its teams each day, are being kept on watch by the council’s scrutiny management committee.
The last meeting of that committee, on November 20, was told that: “Inspections have shown that cables are not being laid deep enough in the footpath by CityFibre.”
The company has 23 teams in the city and this amount of work is “requiring a significant MK Council resource to “respond to complaints, inspect complaints and provide adhoc supervision to ensure the scope, work quality and safety standards are being met.”
Briefings to councillors say that meetings have been held with CityFibre, “however inspections continue to highlight poor practise and increased complaints.”
The issue has been given a red warning in the council’s monitoring system because, as the council officers say: “as well as a reputational risk there is a financial risk to MKC to fix poor quality workmanship issues in the future.”
The council’s spokesman added: “We do not issues fines for poor quality work, instead our inspector will raise any issues about the work with CityFibre who are required to rectify this to our satisfaction. This is how all utility work is managed by local authorities.”
The council spokesman added that it “supports new technology that will benefit the city and choice of fibre optic broadband is one of these.”
A spokesman for CityFibre’s issues resolutions team said: “The quality of the work we are carrying out is of paramount importance to us and for incidences where issues have arisen, processes are in place to help ensure they are resolved as quickly as possible.”
The company says it is “constantly monitoring the performance of our build partners helping to meet our stated target of completing the construction of the network in MK by the end of 2020.”
Since starting its Gigabit City programme in Milton Keynes, they say they have connected thousands of homes including parts of Bancroft, Blue Bridge, Bradville, Great Linford, Willen, Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. They have invested £40million in the city.
“Full fibre broadband will bring a range of benefits to Milton Keynes,” the spokesman said, “from greater innovation and productivity within businesses, to unlocking the use of smart tech within households, and increasing the value of local homes by £119m.
“To achieve this ambitious goal we are using modern build techniques such as narrow trenching to minimise the disruption caused.”