Disadvantages of Digging

    Broadband Networks

    Reading Time:

    Posted on: November 7, 2022

    As we have discussed many times, the unprecedented importance of a full fibre broadband network must be implemented in order to take us, as a society and a as a nation, to the next step of our digital journey.

    This importance is recognized by the Government. So much so, that they are aiming for 85% of all UK premises to have the ability to connect to a full fibre network.

    There are certain methods of implementing such networks. One of these methods is digging.

    What is digging

    Digging is often referred to the method of building new underground networks where none currently exist.

    This usually results in an invisible network for generations to come as well as connection to a full fibre network with no repercussions moving forward.

    However, digs aren’t always the flawless method of network installation that most people think. There are a lot of caveats that often go unrecognized during and after the build process. We are here today to enlighten on just some of the impacts that a dig can inflict on your town, road and even your premise.

    Hidden side of digging

    Now a lot of people associate digging with some disruption for a week or so and then life back to normal.

    Now whilst we always try our best to keep builds to a minimum, it can be an extremely stressful time for those involved.

    Noise Pollution

    Firstly, with many of the UK population now working from home, the noise that usually takes place during office hours are now a factor when it comes to online meetings and virtual calls. Focus, especially at home, is crucial given the drastic change in working environment, however with consistent noise pollution coming from a dig build, it can affect the quality of your work.

    Congestion/Restricted Road Access

    If you don’t work from home, it can also cause disruption in terms of access in and out your road. We have seen many complaints about digs in our industry that has resulted in traffic build up, access restriction and even forcing residents of the road to take the long way home.

    Given the importance of school runs, going to work retail hours or night shifts, the last thing on your mind should be trying to rush out the house 15 minutes early because you know the dig build outside is causing congestion amongst your road/town.

    Accidental Cable Cuts

    There have been many cases of builds causing existing cables to be cut leaving premises with no phone, internet or power in some circumstances. Due to the uncertainty of the materials found in the ground, or the inaccuracy of existing network documentation, cables could be dug shallower than expected resulting in cuts.

    Without any power, food goes to waste, paid days of work are lost and overall stress levels increase.

    Accessibility Issues

    If something were to go wrong with your connection after the build is completed, accessing the cabling becomes increasingly more difficult. Rectifying the issue can then become a miniature build within itself, and the mentioned points in this post come into play for a second time.

    This would happen every time there is a connectivity issue moving forward.

    Invasion of Personal Boundaries

    In order to receive a full fibre optic cable connection, we must set up an internal power unit into your home. To access the power unit from the CBT (the terminal in which your connecting line will be connected to the entire network), we must drill a hole into your house and thread the cable through.

    This is after having to dig up your driveway in order to feed the line underneath your home. This in itself will leave scarring on your beautiful drive as well as cause louder noise pollution the closer we get to your home.

    Furthermore, throughout the build process, there is potential of footfall on your private land resulting in trampled grass, front gardens or flowers.

    Day off from Work

    Because of the need to enter your home and install the connection internally, it means that you will need to be home that day. For those who work from home, this isn’t as much of an issue, however, for those who do not, a day’s holiday will need to be taken.

    Dust Pollution

    Natural residual dust would be released into the air from our builds. This could pose as harmful to those who breathe it in. We always follow safety procedures to ensure that sites are kept tidy and safe to work in, however, there are some things that remain out of our control.

    Involvement of Landlords

    If you are a tenant at a property and you are wanting to have an underground connection, we will need to speak to your landlord to ensure that we are allowed to build into and underneath their property. This could result in a delay to the build depending on the responsiveness of your landlord.

    Dig Vibrations have Caused Damage

    There have been cases during builds where the vibrations of breaching the concrete surface have caused vibrations so severe that ornaments have been broken and boundary walls have been damaged. Due to the intensity of the build, second-hand damage can be caused to older houses or precious items.


    The timescale of a full fibre implementation will be increased if the build process is done via digging. This is due to the more technical work required, the time needed to layout roadworks/diversion signs as well as the tidying and refilling of any ditches we have dug into the ground.

    All of this extra work means that it will take longer for you to receive your lightning-fast broadband and remain on a network that simply cannot keep up with today’s digital demands.

    Long Term Damage to Pavements

    Because of the way we trench, we have to trench along the pavements. Because of the intensity of our machinery, this sometimes can cause cracks adjacent to our trenching. With time, these cracks can have water fill them, freeze and then crack even further.

    Along the surfaced pavements would be trip hazards and unsafe walkways for generations. Any caps or band-aids that we use to cover these cracking issues can also become slippery when wet which furthers the trip/slip hazards cause by micro trenching.

    Digging isn’t always the answer

    Despite the obvious benefits of keeping networks underground in terms of aesthetics, there are a lot of disadvantages that seemed to be swept under the proverbial rug.

    If you do have queries from the back of this post, please do get in touch with our team and we will see if we can help resolve your questions.

    Furthermore, if you want to learn more about our industry and some of our technical jargon, feel free to read more of our blog posts.

    Share this post