After several complaints the ASA has investigated and upheld a ruling against Openreach surrounding the estimated availability dates they display on their checker and also supplier to the various communication providers. We presume that the ruling will also impact on the council led BDUK projects who also publish various estimated dates.
"We told Openreach to ensure that estimated dates displayed on their checker were based on a robust calculation, and were not routinely rolled back without specific information being taken into account. We told BT Consumer not to display estimated dates on their checker unless they could substantiate that Openreach, as the provider of the fibre broadband infrastructure, were using a robust method to calculate those dates."Action Statement from ASA ruling against Openreach
The three original complaints were about cabinets that had an original date set, but then seemed to keep getting their dates pushed back, and as frustrating as that is at least by having a date one would know that Openreach still had the cabinet in their plan. What is highly likely now, is that when factors that are outside the control of Openreach, e.g. awaiting quotes on power supply or unforeseen issues like a tree root collapsing a duct that had been perfectly fine during an earlier survey and road works needed to clear it that rather than dates slipping into the next quarter, either no date will appear and a simple 'being worked on' message will appear OR a cabinet may simply lose all indication that FTTC is on the way.
"Openreach explained that the deployment of fibre cabinets was a complex engineering challenge that involved not only provision of the fibre, but availability of power connections, planning consent for the cabinet itself, possible road closures, traffic management permissions as well as space within their duct network to make the necessary connections. In some case, they encountered unexpected problems, which took time to resolve and might delay the cabinet for some months. The vast majority of those delays were caused by either power provision, as they could not utilise domestic supplies, or street lighting power sources and local planning permission. In order to minimise such delays, they worked with power companies and local authorities. They were also reliant on outside resources keeping to their delivery promises."Openreach on why there may be delays
For the BDUK based cabinets (which is probably 95% of the new live cabinets each week now), the issue of delays is often less of a problem as a lot of the time estimated dates do not appear in the Openreach availability checker system, but there is a high probability that the projects themselves that are just starting to get better at publishing estimates may step back to avoid adverse publicity.
Estimates are nice to have, but our advice has always been to never place too much faith in them, certainly NEVER move to an area based on estimate for a fibre roll-out (irrespective of its Openreach, KC or others) but only consider properties that have the service available to order today, or even better a property where you can see it actually working.