It’s 2024 and full fibre still isn’t available in my area. But, just before Christmas, these black boxes appeared on all the telegraph poles in my area:

A photo of an aerial fibre node on a telegraph pole.
I took a photo of one of the black boxes
A photo of an aerial fibre node on a telegraph pole.
As it turned out, one photo of a black box wasn’t enough

Being on the telegraph pole, I first assumed that they belonged to Openreach (the part of BT that owns and maintains the poles). A closer inspection of one of the labels hanging from the boxes reveals a different answer, however:

A label on one of the aerial fibre nodes stating ‘COMM FIBER (sic)’.
The answer was in plain sight (alas, with the spelling error)

The boxes belong to Community Fibre who are rolling out fibre to the premises in my area (and had already been putting leaflets through letterboxes). They’re able to use Openreach’s telegraph poles by paying Openreach a licence fee. A little bit of online searching reveals these particular black boxes are called aerial fibre nodes, and they’ll move to the top of the pole once they’ve been connected up.

As yet, the boxes on my road haven’t moved up the pole. On some nearby roads they have, though, so it probably won’t be much longer for my road. (Openreach, meanwhile, are stating ‘by December 2026’ for their full fibre rollout to my area...)

Update 4 February 2024

The black box moved to the top of my telegraph pole roughly at the time of my original post. Alas, it’s currently looking like Community Fibre have abandoned the roll-out on my road, as their availability checker now states ‘Sorry, we don’t offer service at the address you checked and we don’t have any plans to build here.’

(Seemingly, I’m not the only one with such a recent change on the availability checker.)