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Kent County Council is calling for more powers to control roadworks, following chaos in the county caused by a Fujitsu-"managed" telephony cable-laying programme.

In a letter to local Kent newspapers, councillors Sarah Hohler and Richard King accused Fujitsu of creating problems in the county as a "result of tight timetables and the use of very poor standards of workmanship, re-instatement, signing and guarding".

This has created massive delays on North and East Kent main roads in recent weeks.

Fujitsu is currently operating eight construction contracts around the county to lay two cable routes to the Continent, on behalf of Level 3, the supercharged IP telephony giant, which is building a $10 billion network worldwide.

The company sacked one sub-contractor following a "major disruption of a water main on Bluebell Hill and... are donating £5000 to Woodham Primary school".

Under the 1984 Telecommunications Act, telephone companies have the "same rights to dig up the highway as the utility companies enjoy. Kent County Council have no control over this", the councillors complain.

Their chances of persuading the government to change this law are less than zero, we reckon. The Information Highway takes official precedence over arterial roads, any day. ®

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