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Bolton Council Take Enforcement Action Against IX Wireless Broadband Poles

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 (5:54 pm) - Score 3,600
IX Wireless Mast in Blackburn

The Bolton Council in Greater Manchester (England) has revealed that they’re taking enforcement action against broadband network operator IX Wireless, which is accused of installing antenna equipment on their pole (mast) erections without consultation or consent from the local authority.

Just to recap. IX Wireless is currently building a new UK fibre-fed fixed wireless access (FWA) network across parts of the UK using WiFi based technology (e.g. Accrington, Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Fleetwood etc.), which is supported by retail broadband ISP 6Gi (NOT related to 6G mobile technology).

The operator is, however, no stranger to attracting complaints from locals about their large metal poles (here) and has previously also run into the odd issue related to unauthorised digital infrastructure (here). Not to mention the banning of several 6Gi adverts for misleading promotions (here and here).

However, in this case, Bolton Council are accusing the operator of installing an antenna on the poles “without consent“. Most broadband poles are typically built using Permitted Development (PD) rights and thus don’t have to go through the usual planning process, which means only the most minimal of prior notice is required (e.g. sticking a note to a lamp post). But the council states that planning consent is needed if an operator installs antennae on the poles.

A Spokesperson for the council said (Manchester Evening News):

“IX Wireless erected the poles as permitted development and then later installed the antenna, without consultation or consent from the council. Prior approval cannot retrospectively be applied for, so that has left the council with enforcement as the only option to intervene.

I confirm that the enforcement process is presently underway, and we have notified IX Wireless. I also confirm that all new infrastructure that utilises an antenna will be subject to prior approval, and to date the council has not received any applications from IX Wireless.”

In response, a spokesperson for IXW said they’re investigating the matter, which is understood to reflect the “placing of a few poles“. “As with all our infrastructure investment across the region, we actively engage with the local authorities who are notified of the work that is taking place. By doing so this has helped us to improve our service and also speak to local officials over any concerns that may be raised. We have a good working relationship with the Bolton Council and have been engaging with the authority during weekly meetings,” added the operator.

The exact specifics of the equipment in question remains unclear. The Revised Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Practice Nov 2016 does state that its rules apply to cabinets and poles “utilised by fixed line Code Operators, not including masts utilised by mobile Code Operators” (the latter falls under a separate code of practice). But IXW’s network is designed to be a fixed wireless service, not a mobile one.

Credits to Thinkbroadband for spotting this news, which had flown under our radar.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Gina T says:

    Great news – Look at the monstrosity, who would want that near their home.

    1. Avatar photo jammie1408 says:

      There has been load round my area that IXwireless have been erecting all over the place. I was questioning in an area where we have fast fibre by ‘Openreach’ and virgin media, why would be need to have these masts installed for fibre optics.. It really makes no sense.

  2. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    The whole company is …. – starting off calling themselves “6G Internet” was designed to be deceptive, there’s no reason for those practises if you have a quality product and are doing things by the book.

    1. Avatar photo Eric says:

      In fairness they called themselves that when 3G was a nipper – probably felt like a long way to 6G.

    2. Avatar photo Rik says:

      They’re backed by the same people behind Time computers, and Supanet and other companies which had a reputation for shady customer practices. They also sell under the Opus brand name, too.

  3. Avatar photo Jeremy L says:

    Someone should have a word with these people then who seem to be doing the same thing near me!

    https://www.suffolknews.co.uk/stowmarket/12-metre-poles-could-roll-out-to-six-locations-in-suffolk-to-9348862/

  4. Avatar photo Rob says:

    IX had announced plans for poles around Salford, too. (notices on street lights near me, Salford listed on their website.) I noticed new poles going up with “6G” on notices on them in another area, so might be the same bunch. But nothing happened here, and Salford has now vanished from their website. We suddenly got virgin cabling our estate, after 20 years of asking.. Maybe these are related.

  5. Avatar photo Jimmy says:

    As someone who quite likes your average monopole, which scrapyard did they get that from? What an eyesore.

  6. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    6G can look misleading to someone at 1st glance. But it’s in reference to 6G Wi-Fi / Fixed broadband. Especially as they use mmWave bands 60GHz – 70GHz.

    That’s what the home ISPs are on now, with WiFi 6 & 6e standards for the Hubs. [but not using mmWave bands]

    As someone who doesn’t mind masts and the cells on them [I have a new one at the end of my street from Three] they are kinda ugly. They would never been better going with the phase 8 style that the MNOs/Mobile Network Operators now use.

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