RESIDENTS have been left baffled by the “farcical” location of a broadband cabinet next to the River Usk and Openreach’s use of tape to stop water getting in when there’s a flood.
Situated on the B4598 Raglan to Abergavenny road, opposite the junction to Llanarth, the precarious position of the cabinet offers little service resilience due to regular flooding.
During Storm Dennis in February 2020, the cabinet was completely swamped - leaving homes and businesses in Llanvihangel Gobion without broadband for weeks.
It was also flooded in January this year after the river burst its banks.
The situation has, according to residents, been ongoing for more than a decade as Openreach claims moving the cabinet is too costly and would cause further connection issues because it needs to remain close to the nearby telephone network.
Instead, engineers have resorted to an “eccentric range” of annual flood prevention measures – including a small pump, cellophane wrap and taping the cabinet joints.
Monmouth MP David Davies visited the area to see the location of the cabinet for himself, which he described as being at the mercy of a “Baldrick-style cunning plan of solutions” to try and stop flooding.
“For a company that prides itself on being on the cutting edge of technology, I am amazed Openreach thinks wrapping the cabinet in cellophane like a suitcase or using tape is sufficient to keep out a raging river which is just 25 metres away, especially when you consider how quickly the Usk rises,” he said.
“This is a significant piece of infrastructure serving the community of Llanvihangel Gobion and it must cost large sums of money to repair, let alone the cost of having to monitor weather warnings and send out engineers armed with tape every time there is a flood.
“Residents are understandably frustrated as their hands are tied in terms of service choice, with 4G almost non-existent in the locality, no ultrafast full fibre build plans and other broadband service providers still having to work off the Openreach network.
“If Openreach is adamant the cabinet should remain in situ, then I hope a compromise can be found to ensure it is more resilient to future flooding events.”
Mr Davies said he would be writing to Openreach to suggest building a brick enclosure around the cabinet.