Villagers in a small Alpine commune have fought off plans to install a 4G mobile phone mast in a mountain beauty spot, saying they prefer to stay disconnected rather than change the unspoilt countryside.
The mairie of Cervières, Hautes-Alpes, agreed not to go ahead with a scheme with Bouygues that would have seen a 30m mast, together with 56 solar panels and a technical shed.
Other possible positions are to be studied, including on nearby summits, but locals say they will continue to oppose anything that spoils the Vallée des Fonts.
Landlines and walkie-talkies will suffice
Past decades also saw successful opposition to ski lifts in the area, which is used mostly by farmers as summer pastures for their animals.
Some chalets are second homes and the spot is used in winter for cross-country skiing.
A farmer who lives there in summer and helped organise a petition of more than 3,000 signatures against a mast said it is likely that satellite mobile coverage will be available within a few years.
In the meantime, alternatives such as landlines and walkie-talkies will suffice.
“The valley is magnificent and untouched. There isn’t a single pylon or advertising hoarding, just old chalets.
“It’s not lived in all year round and was an absurd idea to force us to have a mast there and spoil the valley when it’s not indispensable.”