19 April 2024

Residents’ bid to block poles continues

Residents across Hedon and Preston have pledged to continue their fight against MS3 Networks as the broadband firm attempts to put up hundreds of poles across the area.

Despite the deployment being legal under permitted development legislation, residents have campaigned against it in significant numbers, with thousands signing a petition and some pledging to boycott any services provided by MS3 for at least 10 years.

Since work began last week to install the poles, daily protests have taken place by members of the campaign group in the hope of forcing MS3 to cancel the installation.

In Shields Road, residents parked their cars in such a way that prevented large vehicles travelling down narrow streets, meaning that a lorry carrying the poles and the lifting crane was stopped in a stalemate for six days. On the seventh day, police were called and the poles were installed later that day.

Campaigners have vowed to carry on their fight and on Thursday, October 19, they took their protests to the headquarters of MS3. The protests involved representatives from several towns and villages where MS3 is putting up poles.

The group has also called on Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, East Riding Council officers and Ofcom for help.

In response, Mr Stuart has pledged to contribute his efforts to promoting the sharing of existing network infrastructure.

He said he believed that residents should not be subjected to unnecessary and unwanted street furniture and had expressed his view to KCOM that it may be making it more difficult than it should be for companies such as MS3 and Connexin to share its infrastructure.

KCOM is required to allow competing companies to use its infrastructure, as Openreach is across the rest of the country. Mr Stuart has written to Ofcom to request an investigation into competition in the KCOM area, and has also written to the minister for telecommunications infrastructure, John Whittingdale, to highlight the issues in the KCOM area and to request he presses broadband companies and network providers to work together to share infrastructure.

Mr Stuart has emailed residents to encourage those with complaints about the sites of specific poles to register them with MS3 as soon as possible, and to update residents on his work so far. Mr Stuart will continue to update residents who sign up to his mailing list at grahamstuart.com/TelegraphPoles.

He said: “I don’t want to see our streets littered with poles, and I want to make sure that the companies erecting them don’t impose poles on people without considering their needs.

“That’s why I’m working with all the companies involved to come to an agreement to make it possible for competition in broadband to exist.

“I’d like to see KCOM’s infrastructure available to competitors quickly and at a reasonable price. I’ve raised my concerns over this with Ofcom and the minister responsible. I will continue to pursue all possible avenues to get the best results for everyone in Beverley and Holderness.”