Home Telecoms & NBN No access to the Internet? Well, dig your own trenches

No access to the Internet? Well, dig your own trenches

While many Australians continue to lament the long overdue arrival of the NBN to their neighbourhood, spare a thought for the poor folk living in a village in the South West of England who have been told they have to dig their own trenches if they want fast broadband.

Angry Upton Pyne residents in East Devon attended a meeting on 16 May after the Earl of Iddesleigh refused to allow BT and Openreach to install poles on his land alongside the road.

The Earl owns about 2500 acres of land near the village of about 300 people who are reported to have access to Internet speeds of “just two megabits (per second)”.

Apparently Lord Iddesleigh, who was not at the meeting, has said poles would spoil the view.

The parish council believes that if they can get BT to duct the cable instead of putting up poles the Earl will give the go ahead.

The problem is that, according to the cable supplier Openreach, digging trenches for ducts is an order of magnitude more expensive than putting up poles.

According to Openreach, the village would be looking at a tenth of the cost to put up poles rather than digging a trench, adding that it would cost up to A$138 per metre.

Openreach says it is up to the landowner or members of the community to do it: “Once it's opened, we will pay for the duct to go in, and we will pay to cable it.”

Last November an FttN cabinet was put up in the village, but it remains unused.

Those attending the meeting have signed a petition asking the Earl to give permission for the cables, with residents telling of the problems of living with slow broadband.

One resident pointed out the strains the "decision of one person" had had on his four children. He said: "They found it incredibly difficult to get their schooling done because everything now is online.

"Does this guy have any idea what hardship he is putting people's children's futures and our livelihoods through?"

Perhaps the unlucky Upton Pyne folk should visit some of Australia’s many suburbs that still only receive ADSL - or even worse some of our country towns.


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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.