CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Broadband drilling works causing misery for isolating residents across Camden

Firm apologises but says new internet cables are an 'essential' service

31 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Road digging in West Hampstead on Monday

DAY-LONG pneumatic drilling of roads for new broadband cables is causing misery for residents stuck in their homes because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The broadband firm G.Network is replacing underground copper cables in dozens of streets across Camden. Work is currently ongoing in West Hampstead, Swiss Cottage and Primrose Hill and is due to last until late April.

The use of heavy machinery throughout the day is testing families and the elderly trying to maintain calm at home.

The company has apologised but says it is carrying out an “essential service” and that its workers have the proper protective equipment.

At the Chalcots estate, Taplow resident Russell Gibbs, 56, said works in Winchester Road, Swiss Cottage, were “doing everyone’s head in”, adding: “There’s a lot of old people living round here who can’t get out even if they wanted to. There is the Mora Bennett House is right next to where the works are. It’s ridiculous. How they say this is essential works I don’t know?”

In West Hampstead, Sasha Thompson said: “Everyone is working from home and having to listen to this all day. I’m already going mad. The vibration is shaking our kitchen.”

Another resident added: “This is going to drive us all to get out of our flats at every possible opportunity.”

A G.Networks spokesman said: “With more people working from home, it’s understandable that our street works are being noticed by more local residents. We are working in line with UK government guidelines, which make clear that the rollout and maintenance of broadband is an essential service. We apologise to anyone who is temporarily affected by the noise.

“Thousands of Londoners are having to work and homeschool their children using copper-based broadband connections that are under massive strain. The new full-fibre connections we’re installing will directly help them in the months ahead.

“We’re very closely monitoring the wellbeing of all our G.Network staff and equipping them with high-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that there’s an even lower risk of transmitting the Covid-19 virus. We’re also keeping them up to date on the latest guidelines around social distancing and hand washing, and we’re ensuring they have everything they need to work safely. In the meantime, we’re doing everything we can to minimise disruption and to complete the works as efficiently as possible.”

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