Ridgewood Avenue says no to new telegraph poles

More than fifty residents living on Ridgewood Avenue, Wollaston, have signed a petition which objects to the installation of new telegraph poles on their street.

Broadband company, Brsk is seeking to put three new telegraph poles on the road with overhead cables.

On Sunday 27 August, residents gathered outside their houses with local councillors Andrew Tromans and Cat Eccles, in a show of defiance against the proposed roll out of overhead cables and poles. One of the residents said:

“We are a close-knit community who came together to meet BRSK and listen to their arguments. We have researched and considered them and concluded there is absolutely no support for the BRSK installation of poles in our street.

“We must hope they are true to their word, that in such cases the street will be omitted from their plans.”

Wollaston and Stourbridge Town Cllr Cat Eccles added “Over the last few weeks my inbox has been full of messages from residents who are upset that a company they aren’t familiar with are planning to put up telegraph poles in their street and in some cases right at the end of driveways.

“BRSK are not meeting their statutory duties in relation to notifying residents about planned works and overall, there has been a lack of consultation.”

As part of the Government’s digital rollout to provide every home with full fibre broadband, the entire network infrastructure is being upgraded over the next few years. BT Openreach manage the network nationally, but the government have given small 3rd party companies the green light to help speed up the rollout.

However residents claim that BRSK are using the outdated technology of telegraph poles and cluttering up streets with new cabling, poles and boxes. Cllr Andrew Tromans who also represents Wollaston and Stourbridge Town said:

“BRSK are currently rolling out their service across Stourbridge and Ridgewood Avenue isn’t the only street where there are concerns. At the moment, It’s like a game of Whackamole with many residents deeply unhappy with the way that BRSK are conducting themselves.

“It is not acceptable to alter the street scene so drastically without consulting the people who live there, especially when most people are content with their existing broadband speeds and service.”

Cllr Eccles has called on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for further legislation on the national rollout to ensure these small companies are meeting their legal duties to inform residents and allow for feedback, and encourage the use of the existing underground networks. A spokesperson for Brsk said:

“We take community engagement very seriously, and after speaking with the local residents and receiving overwhelmingly negative feedback, we have decided not to go ahead with our plans to carry out the telecommunications upgrade in Ridgewood Avenue. 
“That said, it is regrettable that there are those who do not believe in upgrading their telecommunications infrastructure to future-proof their homes and their area, and are potentially holding back others who have a real need for world-class broadband and who believe in moving forward into the digital age. 
“It is also important to note that these infrastructural upgrades are driven by the Government's 2019 manifesto to deliver nationwide gigabit-broadband (which is only achievable with full fibre) by 2025. In February 2022, the target was revised to ensure that gigabit-broadband will be available nationwide by 2030.

“Dudley borough particularly has very low full fibre coverage, which can be seen on Think Broadband’s website, and which is why brsk believed the area deserved to be considered for a timeous upgrade.”


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