Concern over BT broadband contracts
4:42pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
CEREDIGION MP Mark Williams has backed recent findings of the Public Accounts Committee’s Report on broadband provision in rural areas.
Thursday’s report concluded the Government had failed to ensure there was fair competition for the huge subsidies involved in providing broadband to rural areas, with all contracts so far ending up with BT.
The report states: "The Department for Culture, Media and Sport's design of the rural broadband programme has failed to deliver the intended competition for contracts, with the result that BT has strengthened its already strong position in the market."
The Public Accounts Committee also found that terms under which BT won the contracts have not made clear where access will be provided, and there are fears in rural areas that they will continue to be underserved.
Mark Williams said: “This report highlights the concerns held by many of us who campaign for a full and speedy roll out of broadband in rural areas.
“People living in rural areas like Ceredigion have as much right to broadband as those living in cities, and I am concerned that BT, who has been awarded all contracts for the roll out of broadband, will see little profit in rolling out broadband in sparsely populated areas.
“In Ceredigion this would have a huge impact on small business located in remote areas, and farmers who now are often required to fill out forms online. I hope I am proved wrong, but this is a very genuine concern for many.
“ Indeed, one of the key objectives of this scheme was to increase competition within broadband infrastructure, so it is regrettable that this situation has not been rectified. The Government needs to hold BT to account, and get solid answers as to timescales, and which areas will be in the percentage which will not be included in the programme.”