CUTTING-edge radar tech is set to be used by engineers for the first time to "speed up" Salisbury superfast broadband upgrade.

In what will reduce the need for disruptive streetworks by up to 50%, Openreach workers will use ground-penetrating technology to map out a clear route for its new cables without any drilling, probing or digging needed.

The technology is also being used to support another new engineering technique called micro ducting – one of a raft of innovations being employed to make Salisbury the first entire city in the country to gain access to the company’s ultrafast full fibre broadband.

Salisbury Journal:

"This is the first location in the UK where we’re aiming to upgrade an entire city network in a single year, so it’s a hugely ambitious project," said Openreach’s chief engineer Andy Whale.

"But being able to use time and cost saving innovations like radar and micro ducting, combined with the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams - means that we can have more confident that it’s achievable.

“We’re constantly looking at ways of improving and evolving the build process, and these are just the latest additions to our innovations toolkit."

Salisbury Journal:

He added: “Micro ducting allows our teams to install new cables much more quickly – up to 300 metres each day. The technique is also less disruptive for local residents, reducing the amount building work – road works and all the associated disruption - by about 50 per cent, and it also uses fewer resources so it helps to reduce our costs and build times.

“Using radar also makes the whole process safer. We’re digging into pavements that have other utilities like electricity, gas and water buried underneath. The last thing we want to do is cut off people’s supply by accidentally damaging a cable, so GPR means we can keep that risk to an absolute minimum.”

Salisbury Journal:

Openreach is aiming for its ‘Fibre First’ build programme in Salisbury to be completed within a year, and it will deliver fibre optic broadband cables from the exchange directly to more than 20,000 premises across the city.

When the build is complete, families, businesses and public buildings across the city of Salisbury will be able to reap the benefits of fast, reliable and future-proof broadband for decades to come.

The company hopes to have its new services ready to order throughout the city by April 2020.