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BT Openreach is to annex northern Lancashire’s broadband following a vote described as ‘illegal’ by rural fibre campaigners.
The rural broadband referendum was held following an influx of new residents into villages within the B4RN project footprint, many of them ordering fizzy lager and Pinot Grigio in local pubs.
Fibre broadband self-build network campaigners were shocked at the 96.4 per cent vote in favour of BT’s copper-based superfast broadband over B4RN’s Gigabit pure fibre service.
Newly-installed BT Openreach chief executive Vladimir Putin said: “The people of rural northern Lancashire have spoken with a clear voice in favour of the choice offered by BT’s superfast fibre broadband.
“We will now begin to roll out superfast broadband to those homes and businesses within range of single fibre cabinet in each village, over the next 18 to 36 months.”
Unmarked Openreach-style vans were seen in the villages including Dolphinholme and Over Wyresdale, but engineers refused to talk to reporters.
Broadband for the Rural North had planned to extend its Gigabit fibre network to more villages using government funds, which would have been unlocked if it had won the vote.
B4RN coordinator Chris Ponder said: “This is just what I would expect from BT. We do not accept the result of this referendum and we call on Ofcom and the international fibre broadband community to punish BT for its actions.
“I spoke to one of the new residents, who claimed he loved barm cakes and walking on the moors, but he didn’t have a speck of mud on his boots.”
Dolphinholme bus driver Tom Newton said: “There’s summat not right about these newcomers. One of them tried to use an Oyster card on my bus the other day. I said he’d have to pay cash like ordinary folk.”
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