Digital infrastructure update
In recent months, mobile network operators have been ramping up their rollout of fibre for broadband and this is resulting in a large number of additional cabinets and poles being put on the ground.
There have already been concerns raised about this from the public. The key issue is that we cannot stop mobile operators from placing infrastructure where they choose to unless there is a specific safety issue identified. Companies expanding their Fibre network across Surrey CC, along with all other Statutory Undertakers who excavate the highway (water, gas and power companies), are required to adhere to legislation under the New Roads and Street works Act 1991. Surrey CC has dedicated Streetworks Officers whose role is to inspect these works sites both during and after works to ensure compliance to this legislation. These Officers proactively inspect as many of the works which take place as possible, and also respond swiftly to any specific concerns raised by residents and businesses. Any concerns about Fibre companies’ build across Surrey should always be directed to in the first instance.
Organisations are issued Fixed Penalty notices if they have not conformed to the conditions of the permit they have be granted to work, or if they carry out works without any valid permit.
In discussions with other Highway Authorities across the South East Region, and from our own data, it is evident that the performance of many of the companies building Fibre networks across Surrey is poor in comparison to other Statutory Undertakers performance and as such SCC Officers are taking further measures beyond our normal compliance inspection regime to closely monitor these organisations’ activities.
Whilst using all conventional compliance powers under the New Roads and Street works Act 1991 (NRSWA) and the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA), we have also recently issued an ‘Improvement Notice procedure’ to Swish Fibre, resulting in increased inspection frequency, paid for by Swish themselves. Where we feel compliance to legislation is particularly poor or unsafe we have immediately stopped works.
The following document describes the progress with superfast broadband rollout.