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Erection of 15 BT Telegraph Poles Causes Anger in North Yorkshire Village

Saturday, June 17th, 2017 (7:43 am) - Score 3,181

Openreach (BT) engineers have been accused of “decimating” the picturesque landscape of two rural villages on the boundary of the North York Moors National Park, where the operator has been installing 15 new telegraph poles in order to bring “superfast broadband” to remote homes.

Most people would be happy to finally get decent broadband access in such a remote area, particularly given that the previous ADSL speeds were often sub-2Mbps, but in this case the 9 metre high erections (*pauses for childish giggle*) appear to have rubbed residents of Nether Silton and Over Silton up the wrong way (here).

Ms Lane, Local Resident, said:

“It is just going to completely ruin this area and decimate the landscape. There is talk about cost, but what cost is losing that view?”

Apparently the National Park Authority had offered £15,000 to help Openreach install the new fibre optic cables underground instead of overhead, although the operator noted that this still wouldn’t have been enough because the “overall cost” of going underground could have run to £52,000 and that compares with only £3,000 being spent on the poles.

A spokesperson for Openreach confirmed that their options in the area had been “severely limited“, although they also promised to review the situation to “see if any changes can be made in the future to address these concerns.” We know a fair few rural communities that would happily tolerate a few extra telegraph poles if it meant finally being able to escape the digital hell that is sub-2Mbps ADSL.

A closer look at the area suggests that Openreach might have been planning to serve local premises with an ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) service. A similar story cropped up in rural Wiltshire last month (here) and we’re likely to see more of these as the roll-out begins to reach some of the country’s remotest corners.

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43 Responses
  1. Avatar Tom Bartlett

    [comment removed]

    • Avatar AndyH

      One of the most stupid comments I’ve read here in a while.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      I’m pretty sure that incitement to commit a criminal act breaches this sites rules on comments.

    • Avatar Alan

      [comment removed]

    • Avatar AndyH

      @ Mark – Can we do something about these comments? I totally understand how some people don’t like telegraph poles, but posts encouraging criminal damage is completely out of order and there should be no space for this here.

    • Avatar welshgit

      take the poles and cables away and let them have their view as the rest of the villagers won’t talk to them any more because nobody will have decent internet

    • Avatar Tom Bartlett

      You don’t like my opinion, so you complain about the site rules?

      Grow up!

    • Avatar AndyH

      It’s not an opinion, it’s a statement you made.

    • Avatar Steve Jones


      Are you denying incitement to commit a criminal act then?

    • I suspect most people would take the original comment in jest rather than seriously, particularly since it consisted of only half a sentence and proving true “intent” or damage from that would be next to impossible. I’m not sure any of us would truly wish to live in a society that was quite so anal-retentive, as if it were so strict we’d all be in prison by now.

      Modern incitement law also requires a higher burden of proof and seemingly some evidence to show that the words had an actual impact (e.g. causing somebody to commit an offence and linking that to the comment).


      Having said that, I shall edit out the comment because it’s a murky area and the comment itself doesn’t have enough context to show whether it was spoken as a joke or not.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      The comment posted by Alan is arguably worse than the one from Tom.

      With regards villagers wanting to preserve the landscape, presumably they wouldn’t condone the removal of their homes in order to do so? Surely brick or stone buildings are far more intrusive than wooden poles?

    • Avatar Alan

      To clarify, my comment is said in jest, i do not personally encourage any such behavior.

      What i do find rather strange and ironic though is apparently 3 people (i say apparently 3 people even though it clear its a single individual and a new one pops along when the prior one doesn’t get its own way and it persists until it gets what it wants). Wanting comments removed which are clearly dark humor.

      Even more ironic is you advocate the destruction and/or removal of peoples homes from such areas To fix the view, making people potentially homeless is perfectly fine but anyone dare touch a BT pole and that is cause to go all fruit cake on here and complain to the site owner. Oh to live a day with such a thought process… never mind the the therapy id need after.

    • Avatar Steve Jones


      I can state without a shadow if a doubt that it is at least 2, not 3 people as I’m one of them. Yours was obviously a mocking joke. The first it appears was not as the OP described it as “his opinion” in a follow up. If he’d explained it was meant in jest, then the matter would have gone away.

      There is a serious question, and that is if connecting up smaller, more remote communities because of what appears to be at first sight a fairly minor visual intrusion, then does more (presumably public) money have to be found, possibly at the expense of others, or should those affected go without? Several years back the government relaxed rules in this area precisely to make it more cost effective to enable faster communications to be provided.

      I should add that it appears to me to be a relatively minor intrusion as the poles follow the line of an existing road, itself an intrusion on the landscape. This is not a pristine wilderness unsullied by human intervention and it is also not a line of steel pylons marching across a landscape. I also note that both villages are served by overhead wires including, in at least some parts, mains electricity as well as telephones.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      I suggest you read my comment again as it clearly doesn’t suggest the “destruction and/removal of peoples [sic] homes” (nor does it encourage arson).

      As for there being one person with multiple ids, life’s too short!

    • Avatar Alan

      Oh i see so its more concerned about a telephone pole than the person which would had to climb the thing to carry out the joke i made. AGAIN… Oh to live a day with such a thought process… never mind the the therapy id need after.

      Probably also worth pointing out if a resident hates the poles that much unless they are terminally stupid they could probably think of more than a few ways to cause harm to your precious BT poles.

      I doubt they need to read jibes on here. Still if it makes your pretty little head feel better i suppose now any destruction can not be blamed on myself or any comment here. Hopefully you will sleep better knowing a pole isn’t about to die.

  2. Avatar Craski

    A few wooden telegraph poles for comms cables wouldnt bother me. We have hundreds in our field of view and cant say I really notice them much. Its the huge metal pylons used on high voltage power lines that I would object to and associate more with the term “decimate”.

  3. Avatar TWKND

    I bet a lot of the same people will then go and complain when their iPlayer or Netflix starts buffering…

  4. Avatar Steve Jones

    As has been pointed out by some before, all the BDUK projects will have criteria for what they are prepared to subsidise on a per-property basis in order to get the best value for money and maximise coverage. Another £35k or so might make all the difference to an area being upgraded or not. Silton and Nether Silton seem to have about 100 properties between them.

    Statements made like “It is just going to completely ruin this area” seem to be a trifle exaggerated.

  5. Avatar Billy

    May as well have made them twice the height and popped a wind turbine on the top of each one.
    Some folks are never satisfied.

  6. Avatar REGIS

    Their house is bigger then the pole and would block someones view of the countryside…… demolish it at once and make them live in a tent which would suit the landscape more.

    On a more serious note as a alternative since it in the countryside lay the main cables underground along the roads and if the people want connected they can put in the trunking themselves to the main cables for openreach to use, seems to have worked elsewhere.

    You would think they would be more bothered about looseing their EU subs in a few years.

  7. Avatar Will

    If they’re that against a few telegraph poles they should be expected to make the decision between:

    1) Accepting the telegraph poles with the benefit of useable broadband
    2) Stop the work and the hopes of super fast broadband
    3) Pay the different to use ducting

    Personally I’d be thrilled to have FTTP delivered to my property!

  8. Avatar MikeW

    Expect more noise and anguish like this, complete with finger-pointing at behemoth corporate behaviour.

    The government took away the planning rules that prevented poles being used in this way, precisely to disarm vocal nimbys and to empower the silent plurality that want decent broadband.

    The only power they have left is to complain to the media. You’d expect that step to be taken by the ones with the loudest, most unreasonable demands. “… completely ruin and decimate …” fits.

    • Avatar CarlT

      It is ironic that a few poles decimate their view, while what happened to build their houses, roads, and indeed the park itself, nicely segmented and manicured as it is, was perfectly fine.

      If they feel so bad about the view they are more than welcome to vacate their properties and have them levelled. No need for electricity or any other utilities, and the view will be improved further.

  9. Avatar dragoneast

    I’ve visited many places in my time, and I’ve yet to see anywhere ruined (or in the current PC jargon “any landscape decimated”) by the presence of telephone poles. I’ve heard plenty of hyperbole though about just about everything; and it doesn’t make an argument by the weight of words, whoever utters them.

    We have more than enough disasters, see recent events in London and Manchester. This isn’t one of them. Wrapping ourselves in our own little cocoon of self-obsession isn’t the solution. It’s the problem.

  10. Avatar Optical

    You get people’buying a brick’ for some building to be built, why not have ‘buy a length of ducting’ instead.

    A BT Duct 54mm x 6M length is only £13 retail, so trade price a lot cheaper.

    Like other I would jump at the chance of having FTTP here.

  11. Avatar Marty

    Oh FFS if they feel that bad about it. Cut some twigs down strap them to top of the pole most people would mistake it for a tree.

  12. Avatar TheFacts

    What happened to the place near Devizes where the locals were not happy?

    There was a broadband user near Devizes


  13. it’s cheaper and faster to run fibre optic cables to villages in micro-trenches in verges or alongside field walls (with way leave permissions of course).

    We dont want ‘more teplephone poles’ – we need far less or indeed, total removal…

    • Avatar CarlT

      Excellent. Are you going to pay for this?

    • Avatar MikeW

      Its only cheaper by field walls if those wayleaves are freely given.

      If B4RN didn’t have free wayleaves, your service from them would be almost another £10pm.

  14. Avatar Captain Cretin

    BTOR missed a trick, they should have used poles “painted” Borat Green, then agreed to “paint” them Mud Brown when the Numpties complained.

    That way, the numpties have a bit of a win (and BTOR can just peel off the vinyl covers to show the usual treated wood finish).

  15. Avatar dragoneast

    The solution for locals is simple. Nobody is forcing them to take a service from BTOR. They can do a B4RN and do-it-themselves, and make it as cheap and unobtrusive to their eyes as they like (subject to the law of the land, and if they want to opt out of that too then find themselves a desert island somewhere, beyond these shores thankfully). But like the rest of us if they choose to take the national BT service then they get what they’re given. The rest of us have to put up with it, however much we don’t like it either. I’m sure we’d all like to, but none of us have the right to a view, however much we like it. Some of the time the law helps us, more often it doesn’t. That’s life. As it always has been (and for that matter always will be).

    • Avatar fastman

      I assume this is being provisioned as part of a BDUk deployment and and such there will be a cost cap for deployment — and 15 poles equates to close to 1km of network build doing that as overhead with new poles rather than underground (as this will direct in Ground) could be the difference of being done or not done — comments about do a B4RN are frankly crazy as that is not easy to do / complex and require massive land permissions and actually the expertise to build and manage a complex network = majority of communities don’t have any thing like it

  16. Avatar chris conder

    Bet you that there is a mast at the end of that line somewhere. Openreach get the subsidies for the villages but their usual goal is a mast. That way the government pays to build the infrastructure so sadly lacking in rural areas. Most villages have to beg and plead and raise money themselves to give to openreach. Unless they have a mast that needs a feed close by…

    • Avatar AndyH

      This is FTTP…read the story please instead of BT trolling.

    • Avatar fastman

      Usual goal is a mast — really ?

    • Avatar Alan

      “This is FTTP…read the story please instead of BT trolling.”

      Agreed READ the story which clearly states “Openreach might have been planning to serve local premises with an ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) service.”

      Since when did “might do FTTP” equate to an actual plan to do it?

  17. Avatar mike

    I could understand if they were huge pylons or wind turbines

  18. Avatar MikeW

    I’m further intrigued by all the fuss here.

    Take a look at Nether Silton itself: https://goo.gl/maps/zsbqysnEzXF2
    The village has power and telephone distributed by wooden poles already. With at least one street lamp sharing the infrastructure.

    Over Silton seems to be the same, even including at least one metal pole.

    Both villages straddle the boundary for the national park. The place is picturesque, without doubt. But it obviously hasn’t been immune to human intervention in the past.

  19. Avatar Olorin

    Oh get a grip for pete’s sake. The absolute miniscule disruption to views and “landscape” will add £1000s to your future house values when you come to sell. The poles are wooden at least and match trees – what’s the big hoo-ha?!

  20. Avatar plato

    Yes it appears a vocal few have jumped on the outrage bus. The view from the church which has about 12 hours of services per year is nothing great to start with, MV power lines can be seen already. As stated in an earlier post the nimbys who are most vocal already have premises served by telegraph poles yet wish to deny others a broadband service.
    Incidentally the area has been served rather splendidly by RF broadband by Clannet at 35Mbs, so it was never a question about 2Mb ADSL only in this locality

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