Broadband News

Full fibre roll-out causes fire in Milton Keynes

Rolling out a full fibre is a massive civil engineering process but given that the council in Milton Keynes is not already happy with how CityFibre and its contractors are working in the town the news that a gas pipe was damaged resulting in a fire and also needed power to be turned off for a few hours while the leak was repaired something more than showing CityFibre a red card may be needed.

One of the local news websites has the basic details (warning like almost all local news sites it is extremely advert heavy) of the incident that happened on Friday 29th November.

Digging in any footpath/road/verge with its myriad of existing utilities carries a risk of damage to existing services, hence the mapping and verifcation of the route and depth of existing services that is meant to take place before any work. One of the key protections is different depths for different services e.g. a gas service pipe for a property should be at a minimum depth of 450 mm rising to 375 mm on private land, telecommunctions cabling we believe should be at a depth of 350 mm and we believe there is meant to be horizontal spacing too (depths are deeper generally when utilities are under a road).

If the council is now spending a large number of hours monitoring the build and double checking things the next step might be billing CityFibre for this project management task or a request to pause work until new working practices can be put in place.


AS I understand the regulations CityFibre have to pay for the repairs and restoration of the carriageway/pavement. That is why operators have to post a bond before being given authority to do roadworks.

It may of course be the Gas that wasn't buried correctly.

  • jumpmum
  • 11 months ago

Telecoms cables require 250 mm cover only. Openreach specifically seem to have the 350 mm requirement.

  • CarlThomas
  • 11 months ago

While we're at it there was a gas pipe at incorrect depth buried directly above low voltage electricity, the two apparently in contact.

Pity CityFibre appear to be taking all the blame for this failure on the part of both the other utilities.

  • CarlThomas
  • 11 months ago

It's quicker for the last contractor to accept the blame, to get the repair under way and then try to recover any costs from the relevant utility. This gets the affected area back into service as quickly as possible, which is ultimately how the contractors are assessed by the local authorities.

Plant records in the UK leave a lot to be desired, as do some of the installation standards.

  • kmendum
  • 11 months ago

Post a comment

Login Register