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Devon villagers burned Openreach van effigy due to slow broadband speeds

Ariana Khushal
November 6, 2017

Villagers burned a giant effigy of a BT Openreach van due to slow broadband speeds

Residents from Templeton, Devon burned an Openreach van effigy on Guy Fawkes’ Night to display their frustrations over failure to improve the hamlet’s 1Mbps broadband speed.

The effigy had written on the side ‘Won’t reach’ with ‘open’ crossed off. According to resident Roger Linden the issue was promised to be looked into three years ago but nothing has happened.

Incompetence of the first order

“They managed to get a cable to the nearby hamlet of Nomansland, but just eight kilometres further and there’s nothing. It’s incompetence of the first order… but we all had a great evening watching the bonfire”, Linden said to the BBC.

The Government’s £1.6 billion Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project is still on-going and hopes to bring superfast broadband (24Mbps) capable networks to 98 per cent of the premisses by around 2020 currently at 94 per cent.

Remaining two per cent will have to make do with a minimum speed pledge of 10Mbps via proposal for a new Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Openreach is no longer the only available option for residents. The regional Connecting Devon and Somerset project has recently signed some big broadband expansion contract with wireless ISA Airband and full fibre, although for now Templeton is still an Openreach-only location.

Extremely rural

A spokesperson for Openreach said: “Templeton is an extremely rural community which makes rolling out fibre broadband much more challenging.

“Although, Templeton was not included in Openreach’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband or the first Phase of the Connecting Devon and Somerset partnership, we’re working hard to find alternative ways of bringing faster broadband to residents.”

Improvements to 4G and co-funded fibre deployments are being considered.

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