BT agrees to release BDUK upgrade information, but councils must give their permission
Culture secretary Maria Miller has called on local councils to reveal information about which areas are set to receive broadband upgrades as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph.
The government has made £530 million of government funding available as part of BDUK for the deployment of fibre in areas which would not otherwise be covered by commercial deployments.
BT has apparently said it has no problem with revealing the information, despite previous claims it should be kept private as it is commercially sensitive.
BT BDUK information
However, the local authorities co-own the data and they are holding up its release. Only a few, such as Northamptonshire County Council, have made the information public and Miller is fed up with councils unwilling to tell residents bad news.
The release of the data would allow homes and businesses who will not be covered by fibre to make their own arrangements by forming community groups as soon as possible. This would allow the government to reach its targets of achieving superfast broadband coverage of 95 percent by 2017 and 99 percent by 2018.
Just £3 million of the BDUK funding has so far made its way into the hands of local authorities, while BT has won all of the cash up for grabs after its only competitor, Fujitsu, withdrew from the procurement process.
Earlier this month, BT was accused by MP Margaret Hodge of effectively blackmailing the general public by only laying fibre in rural areas if it received taxpayers’ money, while others suggested it was threatening not to go into areas where local projects had received backing.
The National Audit Office has been heavily critical of the BDUK project, arguing it is two years behind schedule and is providing poor value for money due to a lack of competition.
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