Devon village broadband plan stalled by Earl of Iddesleigh

Image caption,
Villagers have branded the objection on a 600m-stretch of land as "ridiculous"

Plans to introduce superfast broadband to a village in Devon have stalled because the landlord has declined to allow fibre cables on his land, BT has said.

The telecoms giant said it had not reached agreement with the Earl of Iddesleigh, who owns about 2,500 acres near Upton Pyne.

Villagers branded the objection "ridiculous".

Lord Iddesleigh said he might accept underground cables.

Image caption,
The broadband box has been installed but so far it is unused

Upton Pyne, which is home to about 300 people, has had broadband speeds of about two megabits.

Last November a cabinet to take fibre broadband was put up in the village, but it remains unused.

BT said it was "disappointed that it is currently not viable to provide superfast fibre broadband for the village".

Image caption,
The superfast cables would run along fields owned by the earl

A BT spokesman said no agreement had been reached with the earl, despite two meetings with him, on "either an overhead or underground cable across the landowner's fields".

A spokesman for Lord Iddesleigh said he was not against bringing broadband to Upton Pyne, but would prefer the cables to be buried as telegraph poles would have to cross an "unspoilt valley".

Villager Fabian King said: "We've got the cabinet here and we've got the fibre optic cable on the poles.

"There's one gap of four poles, that's all we need to sew it up."

Councillor Bob Short, from Upton Pyne and Cowley Parish Council, said: "In the interests of keeping the countryside looking pretty for everybody, nobody wants poles.

"But it's the case that they'd not be the only ones in the area, there are poles everywhere. Surely four more isn't going to be too much of an inconvenience for the countryside?"

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