Rural broadband plan draws criticism

12 Jun 2013

The Telegraph newspaper claims that in a report to be published next month the National Audit Office (NAO) is expected to say that it cannot be sure the taxpayer is getting value for money in relation to the UK’s rural broadband plan. The government is committed to spending GBP1 billion (USD1.6 billion) on providing high-speed broadband to twelve million rural households, but according to unnamed sources the programme is ‘a train crash waiting to happen’ adding that there would be ‘some sort of meltdown in the next year or so, or there will be significant cost in the next parliament to unpick it’. The NAO, which monitors spending on behalf of parliament, began its investigation into the rural broadband programme after Whitehall civil servants were told that BT could be charging an 80% premium over what it would normally charge, an accusation that BT strongly denies. The report is also expected to view unfavourably the UK’s reliance on a single supplier, rather than using a wider number of smaller suppliers and less exposure to the taxpayer.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)