SIXTY residents living on a Wollaston street have signed a petition calling for the withdrawal of proposed telegraph poles for broadband services.

Broadband provider brsk wants to install five new telegraph poles in Wildacres as part of the roll-out of the full-fibre network.

But residents say the service is not needed in their cul-de-sac, off Fir Grove.

Resident Emma Barnes has organised a petition with help from neighbours and she said “Brsk have failed to listen to local residents where they are proposing to place the telegraph poles.

“We don’t want these poles obscuring our residences and they are complete eyesores.

“If the significant majority of residents have objected to the poles, why are we now being ignored?

“This is unacceptable behaviour.”

Wollaston councillor Andrew Tromans said: Cllr Eccles and I met with representatives from brsk in early September and I said that their roll-out of full fibre broadband would be uncontroversial in most areas. However, in streets where their services were not wanted I urged the company to listen and I was given assurances that they would.

“Unfortunately, brsk have not been as good as their word. Wildacres residents have made their preferences known yet brsk seem to be pressing ahead with installing new telegraph poles regardless.”

In August, brsk withdrew plans for new telegraph poles on Ridgewood Avenue, following pressure from residents.

People living on Wollaston Court and Ravenscroft, two quiet cul-de-sacs just off Bridgnorth Road, are also concerned about proposals for new telegraph poles.

Stourbridge News: Residents in Wollaston Court say they don't want the brsk poles in their quiet streetResidents in Wollaston Court say they don't want the brsk poles in their quiet street (Image: Cllr Andrew Tromans)

A spokesperson for Wollaston Court and Ravenscroft said: “We deplore the lack of any consultation from brsk. They have made little effort to consult anyone. There was minimal notification of work to be carried out and Notices of Intention were delivered to only one resident of Wollaston Court, and one in Ravenscroft, whereas everyone should have been notified.

“Since then, there has been complete disregard for residents’ opinions, despite written objections from almost everyone having been made directly to the company.

“Residents of both Wollaston Court and Ravenscroft already have our own internet providers and do not want this unacceptable and unnecessary intrusion into our roads. Having three telegraph poles in such a small area is totally excessive. Despite those objections, brsk has gone ahead and installed one pole in Ravenscroft.

“For the most part, residents in Wollaston Court are all over 70, some are older and are completely housebound. They do not use the internet. The installation of telegraph poles outside their gardens will restrict their view, which is now one of their only pleasures.”

Residents from Ravenscroft and Wollaston Court have also submitted a petition against the proposal for new telegraph poles in their area.

Meanwhile, Dudley’s lone Liberal Democrat councillor Ryan Priest has submitted a notice of motion to Dudley Council which he hopes will go before the full council meeting, on October 16, calling on the authority to take a vote on brsk's rollout across the borough.

Stourbridge News: L-r - Cllr Ryan Priest, Community Campaigners Ethan Stafford and Kash KhanL-r - Cllr Ryan Priest, Community Campaigners Ethan Stafford and Kash Khan (Image: Cllr Ryan Priest)

If passed, the motion will call on brsk to work with the council to provide better consultation with residents and ensure the council informs residents of their rights regarding opposition to BRSK's infrastructure.

He said: "Nobody is opposed to cheap ultrafast broadband, but I have had poles erected in the middle of footpaths, and residents have told that they will have poles in the middle of the gardens and drives - it is simply not good enough.

"The Liberal Democrat motion to council will open a dialogue with brsk and ensure proper consultation takes place."

Brsk is installing new telegraph poles, cabling, poles and boxes as part of Government plans to provide all homes with full fibre broadband.

BT Openreach manages the network nationally, but third party companies have been given approval to help speed up the rollout.

A spokesperson for brsk said: “We have been made aware of concerns raised by some residents in certain areas of Stourbridge who feel that there hasn’t been sufficient effort to communicate during our fibre roll out process. Our dedicated Midlands team are currently working to address all queries received, as well as reviewing our communication process to ensure corrective measures are put in place moving forward.

“We take community engagement very seriously, which is why we are working hard to speak to all residents and councillors who have raised concerns as quickly as possible. We aim to collaborate with local councils and are working closely with councillors across Dudley Council, including Cllrs Tromans and Eccles, as well as the leader of the council. We are keen to engage with residents and have already started to make improvements to our process, with the support of Dudley Council, to ensure that moving forward we are working collaboratively in the best interests of the community.

“Brsk are proud to be delivering the fastest and most reliable type of broadband to the region, which is severely lacking in full fibre connectivity.

The company said it is “driving prices down for residents by offering competition” and providing the a choice of suppliers – whereas previously communities have had limited choice and been “stuck with outdated infrastructure”.

The spokesperson added: “Poles are required to deploy the network because in certain instances, a large amount of infrastructure already exists underground, which leaves no space for any new infrastructure. Opening trenches also creates significant risk to the other services in the ground and there is always the risk that water, gas or power services will be damaged, leaving residents without these services while they are being repaired. In addition to being extremely disruptive to local residents, trenching is extremely costly which would drive up the cost of full fibre broadband.

“Brsk’s full fibre rollout is in support of the Government's 2019 manifesto to deliver nationwide gigabit-broadband (which is only achievable with full fibre) by 2025. In February 2022, the target date for nationwide coverage of gigabit-broadband was pushed back to 2030. Therefore, brsk are making the area one of the best digitally connected regions in the country ahead of the national deadline, and creating the opportunity for residents to access world class broadband now. The community should be proud to have been prioritised as one of the first to be connected in the deployment of full fibre broadband in the region, while many parts of the country are waiting to be connected.”