Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Government could miss broadband targets says report

The Government is set to miss its deadline to install super fast broadband to 90% of the UK by 2015, according to a recent report by the Country, Land & Business Association (CLA).

The CLA are also concerned that it will also fail to make the promised 2Mbps speeds available to every home and business in the UK, including those in rural areas.

The report raised concerns that the slow funding process and over-reliance on fibre optic networks could widen the digital divide between rural and urban areas. The process was also found to be excessively bureaucratic, while the allocation of £530 million government funding was found to be too slow.

Commenting on the findings, CLA president Harry Cotterell said: “We recognise that delivering this type of infrastructure is not easy but it is unlikely the government will meet these objectives,”

“It would be much simpler if the funding was allocated centrally rather than giving it directly to local authorities because they do not have the resource to plan for a superfast broadband network.”

The report recommends that the Government should implement a “patchwork quilt” model using the most appropriate technologies for each area, rather than putting too much focus on fibre optic infrastructure.

There are also some concerns over the tender process for companies choosen to build the rural broadband network. A recent Guardian report revealed that almost £3 million was spent on selecting companies to build the rural network, but the selection of BT and Fujitsu has stalled the process while European regulators investigate whether the decision was anticompetitive.

The Commission is concerned that BT does not offer sufficiently open access to fibre infrastructure.

The chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association said: “The European Commission at a very senior level are very concerned that the incumbents in Europe are not investing what they should be in fibre.

“Without competition incumbents will just go slowly.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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