The rollout of BT broadband services in an area of Yorkshire has been delayed by the discovery of badger setts.
BT’s attempts to lay new fibre cables to connect properties in the Easingwold region were disrupted when the animal’s burrows were discovered along the planned route for the work.
It is against the law to interfere with or disturb a badger’s sett, which means the internet service provider was forced to abandon the work, the Telegraph reports.
Bill Murphy, BT managing director of next generation access, said bringing improved broadband to rural areas of the UK is often challenging, but the company has never faced this sort of problem before.
"If we do find there’s a risk of disturbing local wildlife and their natural habitat then BT and its partners take the matter very seriously," he added.
The company has had to enlist the services of a badger expert to determine if the setts are currently occupied. If the animals are present, BT will be required to apply for a special licence from Natural England, which will stipulate how close the cables can be laid to the setts.
This may not be awarded until the end of June, as during this period badgers spend a large amount of time underground rearing their young.
"Engineering work will continue once we’re advised of the best course of action," Mr Murphy added.
Fibre-based broadband services such as the one provided by BT require considerable infrastructural development, which can cause delays in rural areas and potentially disrupt the natural environment.
An alternative service that does not present these problems is satellite broadband. This technology only requires the installation of a small satellite dish and modem to function, meaning even properties in the most remote areas can quickly receive an improved connection.
The satellite broadband service provided by Avonline can provide super-fast speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which is well above the UK average for rural areas. Click here if you would like to find out more.