Connexin to pause broadband pole rollout following Government and Ofcom pressure

Fri 19th April 2024
Connexin To Pause Broadband Pole Rollout From Next Week Following Government And Ofcom Pressure

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, is delighted that, following months of protests, meetings and encouragement, KCOM and Connexin are working together to share infrastructure across Hull and the East Riding.

In a surprise announcement, KCOM CEO Tim Shaw announced that the Hull-based Internet Service Provider will work with Connexin and MS3 on a trial to share infrastructure in and around Hull.

KCOM took the first steps to share its broadband in March, and has now moved its timescale forward to start a trial of infrastructure sharing in May of this year.

Connexin, in a show of good faith, is working with KCOM to share infrastructure and could pause the erection of new poles in new streets as soon as next week.

This follows months of Graham pushing the companies to work together for the benefit of the community, including numerous meetings with Connexin and MS3, who have been erecting telegraph poles in Beverley, Hedon, Tickton, Preston and elsewhere in Beverley and Holderness.

Graham has encouraged the companies to work together to stop the rollout of poles, a result only possible if KCOM is to open up its network to challenger companies.

He has pursued this directly with the companies in question, as well as petitioning the Government to remove telegraph poles from permitted development in a meeting in late March, alongside Hull MPs Emma Hardy and Dame Diana Johnson.

Graham has pushed the Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, to put Government pressure on the broadband providers to find a way to share infrastructure.

For her part, Minister Lopez has put pressure on Ofcom, and the companies directly, to share infrastructure as part of the Government’s push to reach nationwide gigabit-capable broadband coverage by 2030, much of which has been made possible by competition.

Minister Lopez is meeting providers to discuss potential revisions to the code of practice that influences where infrastructure is sited, a key concern in Beverley and Holderness.

Graham encouraged Connexin to put in an application with KCOM to share its infrastructure late last year, which it has pursued despite setbacks along the way.

Graham has also spoken to MS3, which has also been involved in discussions with KCOM, and will continue to the next stages of the trial of infrastructure sharing.

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said: “It will be a relief to everyone in Beverley and Holderness that Connexin is pausing erection of new poles in the coming weeks.

“I’ve long said that the companies; Connexin, KCOM and MS3; need to work together for the good of residents who don’t want scores of ugly and unnecessary poles being erected.

“I pay tribute to Connexin and to KCOM for getting this far – it hasn’t been easy to get to this stage but it now looks like the rollout of poles is ending.”

A Connexin spokesperson said:  “As a community-focused business, we have tirelessly campaigned for infrastructure sharing over the past two years.

“Our preferred method to grow our network, is to access existing infrastructure, in the same manner that all other internet service providers, outside the Hull telecoms area, are able to do with the Openreach network which covers the rest of the UK.  

“Our engagement with Ofcom, the Government, Graham and other local MPs, councillors, campaigners and residents, has led to increased pressure on KCOM, to share its existing network infrastructure more widely and fairly with other local providers.

“While KCOM has only talked of access in a limited area, we would like this to be extended to all KCOM SMP areas in line with the rest of the UK, to facilitate healthy competition for the benefit of customers in Hull and East Riding. 

“While we enter into detailed negotiations with KCOM we will temporarily pause the planned installation of poles in parts of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. This will mean a slowdown of our overall network build in the area, although we will continue to connect poles we have already placed. 

“As long as KCOM follows through on their offer with concrete processes and pricing for access to their infrastructure, we will continue to do what we believe is best for the community and what we have long campaigned for.  

“This does not affect Connexin’s build plans in other parts of the UK.” 

A KCOM spokesperson said: “We continue to work positively with Connexin and all other providers who wish to access our infrastructure to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

“We welcome the pause in installation of new telegraph poles which is in the best interests of the local community.”

Just Beverley