I know a lot of people (including me) have speed probs to do with Ali cabling.
In the 80's (I think it was) all the roads in the country were dug up to install what I thought were fibre optic cables.
Is this right and if so, why are some phonelines coming down Ali?
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Yes, MK is well knows as being an aluminum deathtrap as far as ADSL is concerned due to it being mainly built during the copper crisis.
Roger's also right that the last major cabling blast in the 80s was for cable TV and telecoms, unfortuately the cable cos are no longer interested in extending that network.
So what are the cables installed for "high speed broadband" at that time being used for?
All those dead trees for nought?
RogerB has already answered your question they are not fibre
What the OP may also have seen is the laying of ducting, a lot of which has never been utilised.
This was mainly in cities and large towns, none in rural areas.