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Author Topic: Openreach Airborne Drone Reconnects Rural Hamlet After Landslide  (Read 458 times)


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Openreach Airborne Drone Reconnects Rural Hamlet After Landslide
« on: December 01, 2018, 10:31:45 AM »

A serious landslide, which cut-off the rural hamlet of Kinloch Hourn in the West Highlands (Scotland) from broadband and phone services, has been reconnected after Openreach (BT) used one of their airborne drones to fly a new cable over the safety exclusion zone, around the landslide, and to the base of the Quoich Dam.

Apparently the landslide itself was triggered after a cave, which sat roughly 2,500ft up the side of a mountain, collapsed following a couple of local tremors. The landslide also appears to have dislodged two 1000 tonne+ boulders, which are bigger than a large detached bungalow (sadly the pictures provided were too grainy to include). Some 9,000 tons of soil and rock also crashed onto the road below, completely destroying it.

Curiously the event occurred on 12th November, although Openreach notes that a “single phone fault was only reported this week.” We suspect this might be because most mobile operators have either zero or very weak signal coverage in the area, so there may have been no easy way to report it. Nevertheless Openreach dispatched a team and soon ran into problems with the exclusion zone, which is a no-go area because of the threat to life.

Luckily the team were able to harness drones to fly a new cable over the exclusion zone, which was then connected to the existing network. Unfortunately the team still had to walk 3 miles in torrential rain and hail to the nearest radio sub-station to make sure all 6 lines had a dial tone.

    Fraser MacDougall, Openreach’s Ops Manager (Highlands and Islands), said:

    “As there is no mobile reception at Kinloch Hourn, the radio link is the main means of communication and summoning help in emergencies. It was important to get it restored so that residents have access to services while clean up and stabilisation works are completed. It initially looked impossible due to the exclusion zone and road closure, but then we hit on the idea of using the drone.”
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Re: Openreach Airborne Drone Reconnects Rural Hamlet After Landslide
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 05:55:19 PM »

Here is the link to Weaver's thread, created the day after the landslide and power outage.
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Re: Openreach Airborne Drone Reconnects Rural Hamlet After Landslide
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 11:16:31 AM »

I seem to remember reading about a number of qualified drone pilots on staff at Openreach? Is that right? There was an article somewhere about Openreach crossing a river with the help of a drone, to get a network cable to a single house on the wrong side.

I believe that in some situations you have to have exams and be a certified drone pilot to operate one of these things. RevK, the boss of the ISP Andrews and Arnold and possibly other staff, took the exams and AA now offers drone flight services commercially to the the public.

I can actually see the mouth of Loch Shubhairne, a sea loch, part of the Atlantic, that reaches eastwards into the island of Britain, and which opens out into the Linne Shléiteach the water that separates Skye from mainland Britain. That’s my view from my bedroom window right now, looking eastwards towards the mainland mountains. I can see the Atlantic to the east well because I’m so very high up, (equal) highest house in the whole area, the northernmost, highest, house in the township of Heasta.

The sea loch goes too far away from me, into the mainland, for me to be able to see anywhere near to the far end which is Ceann Loch Shubhairne (‘ceann’ (pron /khjaun̪/ where the c is like the c in ‘cute’, and the au like ‘drown’, and the final n is with the tip of the tongue touching the tip of the upper teeth, almost as if there is is a hint of a /d/ before the n) means both ‘head’ and ‘end’; ‘loch’ means either ‘lake’ (with which it is cognate), and ‘sea loch’ or ‘fjord’, so confusingly many ‘lochan’ (pl.) in Scotland are not lakes at all but bits of the sea. Indeed, occasionally there is the same problem of ambiguity with the word ‘linn’ (pron /lj  i ː  nj/ with an l like that in ‘sleep’ but with a bit of a y like ‘kill you’ and the n as in ‘menu’) which means among other things ‘lake’ and ‘sea channel’ or ‘sound (channel in the sea)’. The last element has a proposed Gaelic etymology that I don’t feel too happy with and needs further thought. Not sure what language it is even. The pronunciation is /ˈhuː ərj njə/.)