Rural broadband delivery 'should be dealt with by experts' header image

Culture secretary Maria Miller has outlined concerns over whether civil servants should have responsibility for determining how best to address the provision of improving broadband services for the ten per cent of rural communities across the UK that will not be served by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative.

BDUK is a £530 million scheme responsible for ensuring 90 per cent of the UK achieves minimum broadband speeds of 25MBps by the end of 2015.

However, the remainder of the country will continue to languish behind the times and therefore Ms Miller has claimed the best way to ensure this group is able to receive improvements is to take the process out of the hands of the government and instead to employ sector experts to oversee delivery.

Ms Miller is believed to have contacted the Treasury to determine whether additional funding could be available to improve the lot of rural internet users, while she has also proposed utilising the same outsourcing of skills that served the government so well in the recent delivery of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Satellite broadband services are one measure that could improve the lot for those seeking improved broadband speeds in rural areas, as the technology utilises satellites to transfer data and therefore does not require homes to be physically linked to a network to receive a boost in internet speeds.

The news follows a recent argument from ISPreview that BDUK may not be the best method for improving broadband speeds for rural communities.

It stated that a lack of public information on those areas covered under the scheme means investors may be unwilling to get involved in the initiative.

Malcolm Corbett, chief executive officer of Independent Networks Cooperative Association, told ISPreview: "Effectively it means that the locations that BT is being paid by the taxpayer to deliver to, along with those that are out of scope, are confidential ... I can't see why anyone would invest under these circumstances."

Posted by Craig Roberts