Villagers burn BT Openreach effigy to protest slow connection speeds

Bonfire night is a British institution and while many villages burn effigies of Guy Fawkes or go whole-hog like Lewes, one village has turned to BT as the villain of 2017.

Villagers burn BT Openreach effigy to protest slow connection speeds

Residents of Templeton, Devon, built a BT Openreach van – amusingly rebranded “Won’t reach” – to burn as part of their bonfire celebrations. Their reasoning is that the BT-owned network infrastructure department wasn’t doing anything to improve their paltry connection speed of 1Mbit/sec.

BT admits that it’s finding the rollout of fibre to the region “more challenging” due to its location. It also told the BBC it was working hard to find an alternative way to bring faster broadband to the region.

Roger Linden, a Templeton resident, explained to the BBC that BT “managed to get a cable to the nearby hamlet of Nomansland, but just eight kilometres further there’s nothing”.

Many villagers say that their average speed equates to around 0.7Mbits/sec meaning they can’t stream content with services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer and would even struggle to browse the internet.

Rural broadband is still a big problem in the UK. In 2015, the government say they’d provide superfast broadband to 95% of the country by 2017, we still haven’t had an update on just how well that rollout is going, but suggestions that the UK has some of the worst broadband in Europe suggests it’s not well.

Still, whenever the people of Templeton get their fibre connection, let’s hope they don’t opt for TalkTalk as their provider of choice.

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