ANGRY protests against the installation of 'ugly' broadband poles in a Cotswolds village continued in earnest this week after a pensioner was hurt at a previous demonstration.

The latest protest took place in Willersey on Tuesday morning with another scheduled to take place on Wednesday as momentum gathers against the scheme, branded 'a blight' by the MP.

Since June the residents of Willersey have been fighting to stop Full Fibre Ltd from installing a 'duplicate fibre communications network' consisting of 15 Poles, 11 metres high in roads within Willersey 'that currently have no street lights or communication poles'.

Cotswold Journal: CONTROVERSIAL: A pole installed in Willow Road, Willersey, Broadway CONTROVERSIAL: A pole installed in Willow Road, Willersey, Broadway (Image: Submitted image)

Residents have argued the Network Installers or “Code Operators” are bound by a set of rules that are The Electronic Communications Code (2003).

They maintain Full Fibre Ltd are not sharing the existing communications infrastructure (installed underground by GigaClear); are installing a duplicate network and not restricting it to a minimum addition of communication apparatus; are installing the duplicate lines overground rather than underground when previously GigaClear have demonstrated that it is entirely practical to install the lines underground

Mark Bridgeman, one of the protestors, said: "Our MP – Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has written to Full Fibre demanding that Full Fibre do NOT commence the installation in Willersey. This is also backed by a letter from Julia Lopez – Minister of State (Dept for Science, Innovation & Technology.

"This morning Full Fibre persuaded Gloucestershire County Council Highways Department to amend the previously approved Work Permit and bring forward the installation date in Willow Road, Willersey by two days (from November 8 to November 6) purely to wrongfoot the residents' protests and the result is that two poles have been installed.

"So we now have 20th century wooden pole network being installed overground when we already have a 21st century technology fibre network underground.

"In addition, Full Fibre have offered residents in Lifford Gardens, Broadway the option of paying an additional fee to install the lines underground and not overground on poles. The residents in Willersey have not been offered this option despite making the request to Full Fibre."

We have previously reported how Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP held a meeting in Willersey Village Hall with district councillors and a significant number of angry residents over a proposal from Full Fibre Limited to erect a large number of broadband poles.

In an email to Full Fibre he wrote: "The purpose of this email is to appeal to you given the strength of feeling in the village, not to go ahead with this scheme."

Broadband poles have been a controversial subject matter elsewhere in the Cotswolds, with residents in Broadway protesting against their installation.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP said: ‘‘This is a crazy situation where a highly attractive village is being forced to accept a significant number of ugly wooden poles blighting people’s properties when a satisfactory broadband system already exists."

In Broadway, residents from The Sands estate formed a blockade on Thursday, November 2 and were protesting the following day to stop Full Fibre from erecting 22 broadband poles in the area.

One elderly protester was taken to hospital after an incident involving one of the Full Fibre vans. 

Two ambulances and two paramedic officers had attended the scene on Averill Close, where Full Fibre had started putting up the poles.

One man was also arrested on suspicion of locking on and preventing a worker from doing their work legally. He is now on bail.

We understand a 75-year-old was injured and spent the night in hospital but is now recovering at home with his family.

A spokesperson for Full Fibre for a comment said: "As the community state, there is a fibre infrastructure in this estate already, managed by Gigaclear but they have used micro ducting to deploy their fibre and as such it is not possible to provide a secondary fibre in their ducts which limits the competition. 

"We have deployed our network to 460 properties in the village already using the existing ducts and poles that are available.  For these final 100 premises, we plan to reach them via the Openreach owned ducts that are usable in the street and a limited number of new telegraph poles.

"We are acting completely in line with the ECC which has been designed by the government to enable the rapid deployment of fibre infrastructure and have tried hard to ensure local residents are aware of what is happening and the reasons why.  We are making significant usage of the available in street ducting via Openreach and are only using the poles for the final distribution.  "


We have sought permission to share the micro ducts that exist but this is not possible due to space restrictions.  It’s important to stress that this issue will be the same for Openreach when they determine to provide fibre to the estate.  However, by then whilst they will equally be unable to use the micro duct, they will be able to use the poles that have been installed to offer their services.


A permit was adapted this week but this had nothing to do with wrong footing any protests that may occur it was purely logistical and again is within the law.


The reference to Lifford Gardens relates to a pilot scheme which has not concluded yet and is believed not to be scalable to larger estates.