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Badgers threaten to cull BT superfast broadband rollout in North Yorkshire

BT’s rollout of superfast broadband in North Yorkshire has suffered a sett-back, thanks to engineers running into a series of badgers’ homes. 

The animals have temporarily stopped deployment of superfast FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) to 450 properties in Easingwold, North Yorkshire. Upon discovering the setts, BT’s engineers immediately stopped work and have called in a specialist consultant. 

Before work can continue, work has to be undertaken to discern whether the setts are currently inhabited. Badgers, being nocturnal animals, could be sleeping during the hours when BT engineers wants to work and if the movie Ernest Goes to Camp has taught us anything, badgers don’t take kindly to being rudely awoken

Badgers in North Yorkshire stop the spread of BT

Badgers are an endangered species and as such it’s illegal to disturb their homes. Penalties introduced under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 include up to six months’ imprisonment and fines of up to £5,000 for each sett interfered with. Or in other words, enough for FTTP On Demand for one, maybe two properties…

If the work can’t continue as planned, Openreach will need to apply for a license from Natural England and plan another route to get Easingwold folk connected. There’s currently no estimated time for how long this process will take.

This news arrives on the eve of two controversial pilot schemes in Somerset and Gloucestershire, aimed at reducing TB in cattle. An e-petition has been launched to stop the cull and has racked up over 200,000 signatures. The RSCPA is also opposed to the planned culls and has criticised the government for having “ignored public, parliamentary, EU Commission and scientific opinion.”

BT’s superfast rollouts have come across a number of obstacles since launch. Last year, wet weather stalled rollout then exacerbated by an extended cold snap. Separately, an EU investigation prompted by the BDUK process slowed down regional rollout. Now a different kind of political animal is causing problems. Those frustrated by BT not connecting their home or business to superfast as fast as they’d like should perhaps give pause before they badger the UK’s incumbent telco. 

Image credit: Flickr user sure2talk

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