Government could miss 2015 broadband deadlines, says CLA.

29 October 2013

The CLA has warned that the Government could miss deadlines to provide superfast broadband of at least 24 megabits per second (mbps) for 90 percent of rural areas and its commitment to deliver 2 mbps to all rural areas by 2015.

Ahead of a Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee evidence session on Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) tomorrow (3 July), the CLA said it was concerned the slow funding process and a reliance on fibre optic networks were prolonging the  rural-urban digital divide.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "We recognise that delivering this type of infrastructure is not easy but it is unlikely the Government will meet these objectives.

"The BDUK process is too bureaucratic and the allocation of the £530million funding too slow. It would be much simpler if the funding was allocated centrally rather than giving it directly to local authorities because they do not have the resource to plan for a superfast broadband network."

He added: "An over-reliance on fibre optic is also a factor in the Government's poor chance of meeting these deadlines. The CLA advocates a patchwork quilt model that uses the most appropriate technologies for a certain area, rather than using a single technology, so everyone can benefit from broadband."

Mr Cotterell said the CLA and NFU were engaged in discussions to produce a national broadband wayleave agreement which would create a more stable platform for those infrastructure providers willing to develop superfast broadband networks in rural areas.