STOURBRIDGE’S MP Suzanne Webb has welcomed Government plans to issue new guidance limiting telegraph broadband pole installation following a raft of complaints and concerns raised by residents across the area.

The MP said she asked ministers to act as residents were becoming increasingly fed up with installer brsk putting up huge poles in their streets.

In light of the public concerns, digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez has written to fixed line broadband operators reminding them they should do everything possible to share existing infrastructure and underground network deployment before deciding to use telegraph poles.

She said: “New telegraph poles should only be in cases where installing lines underground is not reasonably practicable, and only after ensuring that appropriate community engagement has taken place and that the siting of new infrastructure will not cause obstructions to traffic or unduly impact the visual amenity of the local area.”

She said she would ask officials to consider revising the existing Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice.

Ms Webb welcomed the news – having met with brsk several times to try and urge the company to be mindful of where and when the poles are installed.

She said: “I am very pleased the minister has stepped in and reminded companies like brsk of their obligations and responsibilities around putting in this important infrastructure.

“People across Dudley borough are pretty fed up with what could be called a cavalier approach from brsk who seem to think they can put a giant telegraph pole wherever they like.

“This is not the case by any measure, as the minister has pointed out, and all companies should be sharing infrastructure and installing telegraph poles only when there is no alternative.

“Action from the government on this feels like a victory for people power. I will continue to work with communities and hold brsk to account over these poles.

“We need to have the best broadband and this is important work I very much want to see happen. It is a shame there has been totally unnecessary upset and conflict. I urge brsk to heed the minister’s letter and act accordingly."

Brsk said it has always followed the procedures outlined.

A spokesperson for the company added: “We do extensive investigation and planning before deployment, and our network is built within and on the existing telecommunications infrastructure under Code Powers issued by OFCOM, using the Openreach PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access) Product, and although it is a voluntary code of practice, we work to ensure that all poles we stand conform to the code of practice for the siting of street cabinets and poles.

“However, sometimes the existing infrastructure is insufficient for us to serve some premises and on these occasions we need to upgrade the infrastructure to provide services to all residents.”

The company said planting poles in necessary cases happens industry-wide and this is “generally accepted as the most effective and most environmentally friendly option to upgrade infrastructure”.

The spokesperson added: “A large amount of infrastructure could already exist underground, which leaves no space for any new infrastructure. Not only can opening trenches also be extremely disruptive, this could create significant risk to the other services in the ground, such as water and electricity, leaving residents without these while they are being repaired.

“The poles are placed in locations which cause the least disruption to residents, and any residents who may be impacted are directly communicated with through our engagement process which begins before any work commences and continues throughout the deployment journey.”