UPDATE: Significant event that will have national ramifications.
The turning back of a lorry carrying telegraph poles destined to be placed on a small estate in Preston South might not seem a remarkable event, but it promises to have ramifications at a national level.
The area is one that currently has no poles. Its existing internet infrastructure is underground. Its residents had overwhelmingly backed a ten-year boycott of MS3 Networks and its internet service providers and said very clearly “We don’t want MS3 poles!” Yet still, MS3 Networks attempted to force them through. In other communities, poles may have been planted, but this community said NO! Its response may have been prompted by the now national campaign started by Going Underground – Hedon Says No campaign group, but its participation was very much resident-led.
With an eye to public safety, residents arranged a strategic parking plan for the day. Where pavements and areas had been marked for pole holes, then cars were parked nearby to prevent them from being dug. The room for a lorry full of poles to travel was restricted. The result – a stalemate. No poles were going to be dug that day so the pole lorry reversed and MS3 left the estate.
Groups across the country fighting for the removal of poles or against their impending imposition will take heart from these actions today.
But questions now need to be asked at a national level.
Why has this situation come about? What policies exist that enable a community’s wishes to be totally ignored? Why couldn’t that community have a say in the infrastructure that was being forced upon it? Why were they forced to fight back in the way that they did?
MS3 Networks is NOT a broadband service provider – this has been confirmed by OFCOM which regulates the telecommunications industry. It serves as a network provider building infrastructure (underground cables or telegraph poles) from which others will provide broadband.
As a network provider, MS3 is largely unregulated, it sidesteps existing regulations, and is accountable to no outside body. It exploits loopholes in “permitted development” legislation to do as it wishes. Its investors have given it the job and the funding to provide an alternative broadband infrastructure to the existing one, and the cheapest option is to plant forests of poles.
The questions that investigative and citizen journalists need to find answers to are:
- Who funds these network providers like MS3 around the country? What is their agenda?
- The contractors working for MS3 say they are paid according to how many poles they plant. For MS3 and other network providers, what profit is derived from each pole they plant? Who ultimately profits from the business of being a network provider? Who controls the activities of such network providers?
- Why have network providers been allowed to use “permitted development” in ways that totally undermine the good intentions of that legislation?
- Why are network providers sidestepping codes of good practice in how they operate and work i.e. streetworks and community engagement?
These are questions that need to be asked at a national level. The peculiar business of a network provider needs to be investigated, exposed and brought to the attention of the public.
Shields Road residents in Preston South turn back the MS3 poles lorry!
IN A DISPLAY OF People Power residents in the Shields Road area of Preston South effectively stopped the planting of MS3 Network poles today (Tuesday, October 9). At about 8.15 a.m., contractors from MS3 arrived on the tiny estate to find all the spots marked for holes for poles had cars parked near them effectively preventing holes from being dug. And when the pole-lorry, carrying nine poles arrived, residents began crossing the road in front of the lorry. The lorry was effectively stopped on Shields Road. The MS3 convoy of vehicles behind the lorry on the main road stopped to turn on the road and this caused a backlog of traffic on Hull Road. The lorry was effectively stuck, with residents crossing the road in front of it, whilst MS3 vehicles behind prevented it from reversing. This stalemate lasted for about two hours. Smaller MS3 vehicles had already got onto the estate and dug a couple of holes, one which residents said seemed unusually close to a gas main. But the main lorry could not proceed to plant any poles.
After about two hours two Humberside Police officers arrived and spent an hour talking to residents and MS3 staff. Eventually, police ushered in the pole lorry to a safer parking position. It was then stalemate again. The lorry couldn’t manoeuvre through the legally parked cars – and eventually gave up on planting their poles. The small community on Shields Road had effectively stopped the MS3 Network poles – a victory! At least on this occasion.
On Monday, MS3 had succeeded in planting five poles on the Westlands Estate, but not before significant opposition there also, with a similar stalemate situation existing for an hour.
Going Underground – the No to MS3 Poles campaign group has declared that the opposition to the unwanted, unneeded poles will go on for as long as it takes.
Be vigilant: See Essential anti-MS3 poles information.