Rural broadband plans criticised

The government's £1.2bn rural broadband scheme has been criticised by a MPs on the public accounts committee. But BT, which won the contract, said it was "disturbed" by the report and that it was "simply wrong".

BT 'disturbed' by MPs' critical rural broadband report

A BT spokeswoman said the company was "disturbed" by an MPs' report that claimed the government's rural broadband scheme was mismanaged and left the internet provider with a near monopoly.

We are disturbed by today's report, which we believe is simply wrong and fails to take on board a point-by-point correction we sent to the committee several weeks ago.

We have been transparent from the start and willing to invest when others have not.

It is therefore mystifying that we are being criticised for accepting onerous terms in exchange for public subsidy - terms which drove others away.

The taxpayer is undoubtedly getting value for money.

BT faces a payback period of around 15 years on its rural broadband investments in spite of the subsidies available.

The DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) has imposed a rigorous auditing process that ensures every penny is accounted for.

– BT spokeswoman

Read: BT's 'near monopoly' of rural broadband attacked by MPs

BT's 'near monopoly' of rural broadband attacked by MPs

The government's £1.2bn rural superfast broadband scheme has been mismanaged and has left sole provider BT in a "quasi monopolistic position", the chairwoman of the Commons spending watchdog has said.

Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee Chair, has criticised the government's handling of its rural broadband programme.
Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee Chair, has criticised the government's handling of its rural broadband programme. Credit: PA

Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee Chair, said: "Overall, BT is supposed to provide at least 90% coverage in rural areas but it is preventing local authorities from publishing proper information on the areas the company will and will not cover.

"Details of speed and coverage in each local project are also being kept confidential, preventing other suppliers from developing schemes aimed at reaching the remaining 10% of premises and stopping communities and others from identifying alternative ways of providing superfast broadband."

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