Government's superfast broadband rollout widely criticised, inquiry reveals

The government has come under heavy criticsm in its efforts to roll out superfast broadband in the UK, a report has revealed.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has published the written responses it received to its inquiry into the superfast broadband rollout, many of which highlight the problems facing the government in achieving the best broadband network in Europe by 2015. The report nears 400 pages in length and compiles responses from dozens of stakeholders.

For example, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), a government-industry forum that focuses on broadband issues, argued that allowing individual local authorities to lead deployments at a regional level has disaggregated demand and will leave some hard to reach locations without sufficient access.

It said in its response: “Industry has raised issues with the procurement approach. BDUK, the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) unit leading on the procurement, has taken an approach that focuses on local authority areas as individual project areas, and uses the local authorities themselves as the lead procurement bodies.

“This approach was heavily influenced by the government’s localism agenda. In the view of the BSG, these projects are of too small a scale for the sector, resulting in too many procurements and insufficient network sizes to be sustainable.”

“Paradoxically, by attempting to create local projects for local communities, government has created too many projects in total, which carries too high a cost to bid in the view of smaller players, resulting in limited competition across all projects," it added.

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