The rollout of broadband Internet access to rural portions of the United Kingdom has suffered a lengthy setback, and according to one watchdog group, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of British Telecom (BT).
The National Audit Office (NAO) reveled today that the proposal to cover 90 percent of the U.K. with broadband Internet speeds of at 25Mbps by the end of 2015 would more than likely not finish up before the end of 2017 at the current rate of deployment.
Part of the delay came from BT being the only company to be awarded contracts thus far due to European Union rules that forced all other bidders out of the running. Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, told The Telegraph, “The rural broadband project is moving forward late and without the benefit of strong competition to protect public value.”
In addition to the slow rate of deployment, leaked documents given to the NAO by The Daily Telegraph indicated that BT was wasn’t shouldering as much of the cost as was first expected. Under the original agreement BT was to cover 36 percent of the needed upgrades, but it seems that the number has fallen to 23 percent causing a £207 million (approx. $307.9 million USD) shortfall. BT denies those claims and it says that it is actually covering 38 percent of the cost, and that it is “delivering good value for money.”
As for the delays it appears that those in rural areas are sadly just going to have to continue to be patient.