Buried cable identified

Guide to understanding installation exceptions.

In most cases connecting your property with fibre broadband is a simple exercise. However in some premises you may need to complete some additional work before it can be connected to fibre. This is because the infrastructure supplying properties varies around the Island depending on several factors, including when properties were built and the location of the property. This page explains what you need to do if your property has been identified as having a Buried Cable.

Buried Cable

If your property has been flagged with a ‘buried cable’ exception, it has been identified that there is no existing duct work to the property. In this instance, the existing copper service is buried directly into the ground, which was common practice many years ago, and there is no way of feeding the new fibre cable to the property without additional works.

There are 2 methods available to resolve a Buried Cable situation.

  1. Drop Tubing
    • Self-installation
    • Third Party Contractors via a quoting process
  2. Standard Ducting
    • Self-installation
    • Third Party Contractors via a quoting process

The differences between the 2 are detailed below, including which situation is best for either option.

Drop Tubing

Drop Tubing is a new solution that is available where a property has been identified as having buried cables. Unlike previous ‘ducting’ solutions, Drop Tubing does not necessarily require burying, making it easier to install. Drop Tubing is a narrow, reinforced 7mm diameter tube that can be surface mounted to provide a direct route for the fibre cables to connect from the main fibre network to the property.

*Drop Tubing may not be suitable for a property with a hard finished surface type which extends the full width of the property frontage and has no alternative way to attach the fibre such as a wall, fence, or kerb.

The best route will be determined when the survey is undertaken.

Self-installation guidelines
As the Property Owner you can install the Drop Tubing yourself.

Once you have placed your order with your preferred Fibre Supplier, a convenient time to meet a Planner at the property will be organised. Clear guidance will be provided detailing where the Drop Tubing needs to meet the curtilage of the property, how it should appear at the property and how it must be laid and secured to avoid any blockages. All required equipment will then be ready for collection.

Details of how to install the Drop Tubing are shown below. Property Owners need to be aware that any damage to Drop Tubing is their responsibility.

  • Below ground: Install the cable conduit at a depth of 200mm, which is the typical depth of a garden spade. See Image 1 below.

  • Above ground: Attach the cable conduit to a structurally sound garden wall or fence. The cable conduit should be cleated at 300mm centres. See Image 2 below.
  • There can be no more than five bends, each at a minimum bending radius of 120mm (the typical radius of a dinner plate) i.e. DO NOT create any 90-degree bends as this exceeds the angle that the fibre cable, that we need to later pass through the conduit, can tolerate. See Image 3 below.

  • The total length of cable conduit below and above ground should be no more than 50m in total length.
  • A 2m coil of the cable conduit should be left at the property boundary where you would like the service to enter the property. See Image 4 below.
  • A 1m coil of cable conduit should be left at the other end of the property boundary where it adjoins the public footpath or highway, ready for the engineer to pass through any walling (if necessary) and connect into the small black box to access the fibre network. See Image 5 below. Any work performed outside of the property boundary must be carried out by the approved contractor.
  • Once the work has been completed, inform your Licensed Operator who will arrange for your fibre service to be installed.

A short video showing how Drop Tubing is installed is available here 

Third-Party Contractor completes the work via a quoting service
If a Third-Party Contractor has been selected as the preferred option, then arrangements will be made for them to visit the property and meet with the Property Owner. The Contractor will assess the work required and provide a quote to the Property Owner and arrange to complete the required works.

In addition, they will arrange and complete any works required in the carriageway at the same time. The cost for any carriageway work is met by Manx Telecom.

The Property Owner is responsible for paying the Contractor on completion of the works.

The Contractor will then arrange for the installation to be completed by updating the order status as ready to proceed and the Licensed Operator will be informed so an appointment date can be arranged.

As a guide, Drop Tubing for a 9m run is £210. This is primarily based on distance and the route agreed upon.

Standard Ducting

Standard ducting can be used at any property, however, tends to be more expensive and more intrusive to install as it is required to be buried at a greater depth and cannot be surface mounted like Drop Tubing.

Self-installation guidelines
If the Property Owner chooses to complete groundworks themselves, arrangements will be made with the Property Owner for an experienced Planner to attend the property at a convenient time and discuss options. In addition, all required ducting will be made available for the Property Owner to collect and is supplied free of charge. The planner will identify where the ducting needs to meet the curtilage of the property, how it should appear at the property, at what depth it needs to be laid and how to cover the ends to avoid the duct becoming blocked.

Please note, tenants will need to ensure they have their landlord’s permission before any work should be undertaken.

As a guide:

  • Ducts should be buried to a depth of 350mm beneath the proposed external ground level.
  • The Manx Telecom duct (supplied) should be no greater than 15mm from the finished wall surface.
  • The duct should protrude no more than 50mm from the finished ground level.
  • The duct opening must be covered, preventing the ingress of debris, using the supplied plug.

At the property, the duct should be as shown below:


Once the Property Owner has completed installing the Duct, they need to inform their Licensed Operator who will update the Fibre Network team. The Fibre Network team will complete any works required in the carriageway to connect the Property Owners ducting to the fibre network. Once completed, the Fibre Network team will arrange for an appointment to be arranged by the relevant License Operator.

Example below of a trench dug for a new duct to a depth of 350mm.

Third-Party Contractor via a quoting service
If a Third-Party Contractor is preferred, then arrangements will be made for a Third-Party Contractor to visit the property and meet with the Property Owner. The Contractor will assess the work required and provide a quote to the Property Owner and arrange to complete the required works.

In addition, they will arrange and complete any works required in the carriageway at the same time. The cost for the carriageway work is met by Manx Telecom.

The Property Owner is responsible for paying the Contractor on completion of the works.

The Contractor will then arrange for installation to be completed by updating the order status as ready to proceed and the Licensed Operator will be informed to organise an appointment date with the Property Owner.

As a guide, Standard Ducting is around £350 – £500 but is based on distance and the route agreed upon.

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