MPs’ rural broadband report confirms CLA’s worst fears of tech-free countryside zones

29 November 2013

The CLA said today (26 September) that the report on rural broadband delivery by the Commons' Public Accounts Select Committee confirms that the current system is a flop and there is no chance of meeting the 2015 roll-out deadline set by the Government.

CLA Vice-President Ross Murray said: "For more than 10 years, the CLA has been campaigning on the need for comprehensive, affordable and effective broadband throughout the countryside. And, yet, many rural areas are still in the technological Dark Ages.

 

"The report by this influential Select Committee backs our long-held view that the system put in place by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is a failure."

 

The CLA Vice-President said he was very concerned about the total reliance on British Telecom.

 

Mr Murray said: "To have British Telecom as the only surviving bidder in the procurement process defeats the objective of a competitive system.

 

"Although DCMS says the process is fair and transparent, it simply has not worked. The fact the Government will not be able to meet its self-imposed deadlines is letting down those who live and work in rural areas where broadband is essential.

 

"And it is not only superfast broadband that is a problem. Mobile phone coverage remains a major issue for many in the rural economy and is equally vital.

 

"There will still be many rural areas with poor mobile reception which will get no help despite the Government's Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) to identify and fix 1,000 areas of the country with no mobile signal."

 

See the Commons' Public Accounts Select Committee report at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/474/47402.htm