Self-dig schemes

Aerial photograph of fields in Baylham, Suffolk


Self-dig schemes can be achieved either as part of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, to extend coverage to areas not in commercial plans, or as a Community Fibre Partnership with Openreach. With a ‘self-dig’ you can take the initiative and do some of the groundwork yourself to reduce costs and speed up the process. Communities can choose to dig and install their own network ducts in a process known as ‘self-dig’. To start a self-dig scheme, you will need to work alongside the Better Broadband for Suffolk team and/or Openreach to determine whether a ‘self-dig’ solution is an appropriate form of delivery and that everything will meet the correct specifications.

If you would like further information about self-dig schemes, please contact us.


Self-dig schemes - key information


What do you need to do?


  1. Send the Better Broadband for Suffolk team and/or Openreach a list of the premises within your community and express an interest in a self-dig scheme. Openreach will assess the technical aspects of the request and whether there is enough interest from the community to make the project a cost-effective solution.
  2. Outline where you want to dig to so these can be considered when the Better Broadband for Suffolk team and/or Openreach survey the area to find a viable route.
  3. If a viable route is found and you are happy with the quote provided by the Better Broadband for Suffolk team and/or Openreach, you will need to:
    1. Confirm the addresses for all of the premises in the community who will benefit from the new fibre infrastructure
    2. Identify land ownership and any potential premises that are capable and willing to be part of the self-dig work
    3. Identify any natural boundaries that stand between premises and road links (i.e. rivers, streams, woods, hills, etc.)

Things to bear in mind when participating in a self-dig scheme


Who owns the land?

If the dig route crosses private land, you will need to get the landowner’s permission and contact them about the proposed work.


Who needs access?

You will need to coordinate wayleaves (legal access rights - Openreach has an information page about wayleaves on their website), if needed, and think about how heavy machinery will get in – or how engineers will access the network in the future.


DIY or contractor digging

If you have the skills, resource and the manpower, then a DIY scheme can prove to be the most cost effective. If you aren’t able to complete the dig yourself, then you may need to contact a selection of contractors, including Openreach, to see what the most cost-effective solution available is.


Will roads need to be closed?

If the duct crosses a road you will need to get permission from Suffolk Highways and work within the set dates and times allocated. It is best to avoid routes that need to cross a road, and it is possible to get a contractor to do the road section of the dig.


Keep it straight

Ideally the route will have long straight lengths, to minimise jointing chambers and avoid sharp bends.


Where to dig

Sometimes the existing network is the best route, but if not, the Better Broadband for Suffolk team and/or Openreach will indicate areas where the community can dig. They will also highlight where you may need to dig back to from individual premises.


Financial help

You might be able to get financial help towards the cost of a self-dig: for more information please visit our page about the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme


Your community can help by:


  • Digging the fibre spine out to the community

    This is the main duct into the heart of the community from a connection point in our network.


  • Digging in the lead in to the premises

    If your premises are far from the service distribution point you might want to dig from the road to your property to reduce the cost of the overall solution.

We proactively encourage self-dig scheme, so if you are interested, please contact us


Read our self-dig case studies:


Baylham Stone self-dig case study

Benacre Estate self-dig case study

Cavendish self-dig case study