Local councils have been sent a letter from the Culture Secretary Maria Miller asking them to reveal their plans for next generation broadband rollout in a bid to help smaller community schemes make plans if they are to make upgrades themselves if their area is not to be covered with superfast broadband from BT, the letter has been seen by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Much of the confusion for local community schemes comes because although BT is set to cover 90% of the UK with fibre optic broadband it is not made clear which of the remaining 10% exactly are not going to be covered and so other local projects are unable to make proper plans as they do not know if they will be covered by BT or not.
During a Public Accounts Committee hearing that discussed this issue a couple of weeks ago, a BT director of strategy, Sean Williams said that local authorities had this information and they were able to pass it on to the smaller projects.
In the letter from the Culture Secretary, it said:
“concerns have been raised about whether information on the areas which will, or will not, be covered by the current projects can be made available. This information will help other broadband providers and community groups determine whether it is worth their while to develop local broadband projects to fill in gaps in coverage. It will also help clarify the position of those community broadband projects whose schemes are already planned in some detail. I am keen to see this information made available.”
Hopefully if the councils do get on board and share the information then projects that are looking for some of the £20 million in funding that can be provided by the “Rural Community Broadband Fund” (RCBF) will hopefully be able to be finalised and start moving forward.