New phone lines installation for renovation project

New phone lines installation for renovation project

15:54 PM, 29th December 2015, About 9 years ago 5

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We are in the process of a major renovation project of a period townhouse with 5 flats. The building currently has two overhead phone lines coming in, both of which we understand are now disconnected (the house is now empty). We consulted Openreach on options to arrange new phone lines and were given the following quotes:phone

1) 5 new overhead lines to an internal box at £988 + VAT
2) underground cable to an internal box £2,878 + VAT (but we are to arrange and pay for the digging up of a trench from boundary to the building and all internal cables from the flats to the internal box)

Ideally we would like to go for the underground option as majority of new connections will nowadays be done that way anyway. However, given that most providers seem to charge a max. of about £125 and it is often substantially cheaper than that when one signs up to a line rental contract, these quotes seem exorbitant.

We are planning to rent the flats and I’m sure the tenants will reasonably expect communications connections to be made available, but – as the landlord – we logically cannot sign up for contracts. Hence we seem to be completely reliant on Openreach for the new lines set up.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to sort this out in a cost effective way?

Thank you!


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12:57 PM, 31st December 2015, About 9 years ago

Try Virgin Media for a competitive quote? 0800 408 0088 If you give Openreach the impression that you will only be making a Virgin cable connection (assuming that option is available in your area), they may decide to cut their prices.

If you go for underground, you will obviously save costs if you dig your trench and install the ducting at the same time as any trench needed for other utilities. You can even share trenches provided the ducting and piping are set at different depths - though there may be interference issues for electrical cable and telecoms together. The telecoms firm should provide the ducting for free and are pretty quick off the mark with deliveries.

But why do you even need to install the cable yourself? When I arranged telecoms connections for two new houses, all I did was install the underground ducting on my land, and the utility provider (Virgin) charged me nothing to dig the hole on the streetside so they could find their main, add a spur point, and install the access cover. We then left a drawstring running from their side down my pipe all the way through to the main supply point inside the house (under the stairs, where the router would be located), but we didn't actually install the cable from the street to the house. This was left until the new owner of the house decided whether to use BT or Virgin: their installer then used the drawstring to pull through the cable, at the new owner's cost for a normal domestic new connection.

For BT, Openreach supplied the ducting pipe for free. I paid to dig a trench and install the ducting up to what they felt was the best connection point (an existing telegraph pole holding overhead lines to neighbouring houses). I left a drawstring in place, so when the BT engineer came to install the new owner's new cable, he simply spliced a connection next to the telegraph pole, I showed him where the end of the ducting was, and he pulled the new cable using the drawstring through to the house.

For both Openreach and Virgin, my only costs were the trenchwork and attending the site to show the engineers where the end of the ducting and the drawstrings were.

Colin Dartnell

13:14 PM, 31st December 2015, About 9 years ago

At the moment BT charge £65 if ordered online to install a new line with a package, let the new tenant organise it. If you feel that you should supply the line give them a discount of £65 off the first months rent but if they leave after six months it should be their responsibility for any contract longer than that period.


15:25 PM, 1st January 2016, About 8 years ago

Thanks very much to both of you for the feedback. I think installing the ducting only and leaving the rest of the arrangements up to the tenants sound like a great option. Presumably best to check with BT / Virgin where along the boundary we should aim to lead the duct an take it from there. Again, many thanks, this makes a lot of sense.

Ankur Arora

8:30 AM, 2nd January 2016, About 8 years ago

I work with a residential developer in London. We have recently been approached by a company called HyperOptic who have offered to provide all cables and equipment and even pay for labour charges for installation of cables etc upto the flats. They will setup the phone and broadband box in each flat such that the new tenant just have to make a call and the phone and internet will be active within a few hours. Now even BT is offering very similar service and we are considering using both to give tenants the best options.

If you are in London, its worth considering Hyperopic. Otherwise try Virgin as suggested earlier and BT should price match.

Chris Byways

12:40 PM, 2nd January 2016, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gabriela S" at "01/01/2016 - 15:25":

When going to the cost of installing a duct in a trench, consider putting a complely spare duct in. The cost of doing another trench after surfacing is great. Who knows what new services will be required in the future some can't share ducts for technical or safety. If gas is discontinued in 15 + years, upgraded electric cables might be needed?

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