Connexin, Hull: Broadband poles are more 'environmentally-friendly' than underground cables, claims firm

Putting up broadband telegraph poles is more environmentally-friendly and less disruptive than laying cables underground, one of the companies rolling out infrastructure across East Yorkshire has claimed.

Connexin made the claim when justifying putting up poles in Summergroves Way, off Hessle Road, saying they were more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. A company spokesperson said poles were less carbon-intensive than digging for ducts and they could be reused at the end of their 30-year lifespan.

It comes as Connexin continues its roll out of poles and other broadband infrastructure in Hull and the East Riding. The company held a meeting in west Hull’s Costello Stadium to discuss plans with people living in that area earlier this month.

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A campaign group has also formed in Beverley as Connexin moves to put up poles in Molescroft following installations in the Minster North ward of the town. The installation of poles in Summergroves Way prompted Connexin to make the eco-friendly claim.

Protesters against broadband pole installations gathered outside East Riding of Yorkshire Council's County Hall officesProtesters against broadband pole installations gathered outside East Riding of Yorkshire Council's County Hall offices
Protesters against broadband pole installations gathered outside East Riding of Yorkshire Council's County Hall offices

In a message to a resident seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the company said the poles are made from renewable materials and require less equipment to install, producing less carbon.

Connexin added the one to two hour installation time for poles meant works in a street could be done in a day, compared to weeks or months for underground cables.

A company spokesperson said laying underground cables was disruptive, though it acknowledged they had the benefit of removing cables from view.

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The spokesperson said: “Using poles is less carbon intensive than digging ducts. While there is the visual aspect of having poles on our streets, using timber actually locks in carbon for the 30-year lifespan of the pole, at the end of which it is still available for other uses.

“It also means fewer road closures, diversions and damage to road surfaces, walls and gardens. Laying cables underground currently uses more machinery and is more carbon-intensive and disruptive to the environment in the short-term.”

The claims come after Hull councillors backed creating a local task force to inspect the quality of broadband works in January, asking the Government to help fund it. Meanwhile, East Riding councillors called for Ofcom to put a stop to the works to conduct a review into the local telecommunications market.

The emergency review into the East Yorkshire market area, previously dominated by KCOM before rivals started moving in, would take place ahead of the one scheduled in 2026. Under current rules, broadband infrastructure is classed as permitted development, meaning companies do not have to go through the normal planning process to install it.

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Companies are required to give councils and affected households 28 days notice to allow time for legitimate objections over access and other issues. Broadband companies have justified the installation of poles as the quickest and cheapest way of rolling out their infrastructure.

KCOM is also currently assessing a request from Connexin to share its infrastructure. Anger over the inability for people or councils to put a stop to installations has spawned protest groups in Hedon, Beverley and elsewhere as roll outs continue.

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