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NIMBYs whinge at Sky’s gigabit Basingstoke broadband trial

Residents offered hyperfast broadband in a Sky technology trial have complained that telegraph poles make their estate look like a ‘third world country’.

The trial on Basingstoke’s Camrose estate will bring speeds of up to 950Mbps — more than 10 times faster than the best available through Sky’s current fibre-based broadband delivered on BT’s network.

But some residents aren’t happy that Sky is using telegraph poles – some new, some old – to create direct fibre broadband connections faster, far more cheaply and with less disruption than digging up streets.

Telegraph poles will take the high-speed broadband into homes
Telegraph poles will take the high-speed broadband into homes

Councillor Brian Gurden, Liberal Democrat member for Basingstoke South East at Hampshire County Council said: “The Camrose estate has some old-style telephone poles that we would rather get rid of because, as someone said, it makes it look like a third-world country.

 “They should not be putting this trial in here. They should be seeking to reach other parts of the country, the rural areas, that are hard to reach.”

The 12-month Love Digital TV trial will initially provide speeds of up to 950Mbps, using fibre optic cables strung along telegraph poles, and will also deliver Sky TV without a satellite dish.

The FTTP (fibre to the premises) technology has traditionally been considered too expensive and disruptive to be rolled out nationally because ISPs would have to dig trenches to place the cables underground.

But FTTP can provide speeds much faster than the 76Mbps top speed of FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) provided over BT’s network, where the fibre optic cable finishes at a street cabinet and the ‘last mile’ is run over BT’s old copper phone cables.

Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Roy Perry backed the scheme, with 120 properties across four streets in the area testing the service out.

One resident told the Basingstoke Gazette: “I think it’s a bit naff really. It’s a bit much if you live in a house with a new telegraph pole in front.”

Sky said: “We are trialling potential technologies which will enable us to deliver better quality and value broadband.

“Throughout these trials, we are working hard to minimise any disruption to residents, and we are pleased with feedback we have received from triallists to date.”

BT is also conducting trials to help customers achieve speeds of up to 330Mbps using FTTP services. Like Basingstoke’s residents, NIMBYs in the Cornish town of Newlyn have complained to the ISP about the 36-foot telegraph poles ruining their landscape. 

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