Sunday, July 14, 2024

MP puts pressure on KCom to share infrastructure – BBC News

Must read

  • By Kevin Shoesmith
  • BBC News

Image source, Graham Stuart MP

Image caption, Graham Stuart MP met residents opposed to broadband poles in Hedon on Saturday

An MP has said he has referred KCom to the telecoms regulator in a bid to end a row over broadband poles.

Companies including Connexin and MS3 Networks have installed their own poles in Hull and East Yorkshire, angering some residents.

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said he made the referral to highlight the “sorry state of broadband competition” in the region.

KCom said it had not prevented any firm from using its infrastructure.

Tory MP Mr Stuart said he was against “ugly and unnecessary poles” that were appearing across Hedon, which is within his constituency.

Image caption, Hedon campaigners took their protest to MS3 Networks’ offices in Hessle last week

He added: “It’s clear that after the irritation of our roads being dug up everywhere for KCom’s broadband everyone should be able to use their ducts – as happens everywhere else in the country.

“That’s why I’ve made clear to KCom that it should be making it easy, quick and cost effective for competitors to use their infrastructure.”

In a statement, KCom said: “As we explained to Graham Stuart very clearly recently, we’re not stopping anyone from using our infrastructure – and we’ve not had any requests for access to our poles or ducts in Hedon.

“If MS3, or any other provider, want to apply for access to our network in Hedon, we’d be happy to work with them and, indeed, we’re legally required to provide access to our infrastructure and process access requests quickly and efficiently.

“If other providers don’t agree with the prices we quote to access our network, then they are welcome to disagree and raise a dispute with Ofcom. To date, no other provider has done this. Under the rules, we’re only allowed to recover our costs for providing access and our quotes have never been queried.”

Image source, Jen Bateman/BBC

Image caption, Teams installing broadband poles have been hampered by campaigners in Hedon

KCom said where “new providers” were installing poles it was “entirely their own commercial choice” and “not because they have not been able to gain access to our infrastructure”.

Meanwhile, Mr Stuart said he was working with MS3 “and other challengers” to come to an agreement to share KCom’s infrastructure. He said he was hopeful it would “come to pass”.

He said he had also written to Sir John Whittingdale, the minister for data and digital infrastructure, stating the government should intervene if an agreement between KCom and its rivals could not be reached.

Meanwhile, Hugh Davies, from the firm Connexin, which has also installed infrastructure across East Yorkshire, said it had applied to KCom “for clarity on pricing and access” to its infrastructure.

MS3 Networks has infrastructure – both poles and underground cables – installed in Hull, while Connexin said it had installed cabling in Leven, Brandesburton, Tickton, Beeford and North Frodingham. It is currently working in Cottingham.

Latest article