Following the broadband money

BDUK misson creeps to include very high speed city networks

with 4 comments

Broadband Delivery UK, the government agency set up to deliver high speed broadband to the country’s broadband “not-spots” is to review proposals for very high speed broadband in cities.

This was revealed in a job advertisement for an accountant. It said, “BDUK is also taking forward other ministerial priorities such as proposals for very high speed broadband in cities.”

The department of culture media and sport, to which BDUK reports, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Until now the government has said the BDUK’s £530m budget is to ensure that  so-called “final third” of homes and businesses currently without a decent broadband service will get  one. It has said it will rely on the market to deliver high  speed (above 24Mbps) connections largely in towns and cities.

It is therefore not clear why BDUK should be involved in urban networks.

Virgin Media is already testing a 1.5Gbps network at London’s Tech Hub in Old Street, and BT has said it will have spent £2.5bn on fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), with a little fibre to the premises (FTTP), by 2015. It has started rolling out some 100Mbps FTTP projects in high density locations.


Br0kenTeleph0n3 asked the DCMS press office the following questions about BDUK’s apparently extended mission:

What proposals for very high speed broadband networks in cities is BDUK looking at?
Who has submitted them?
What time period do they cover?
How much taxpayers’ money could be involved over and above the £530/£830m already earmarked for not spots?
BDUK was set up to address the problems of broadband not spots. This looks like mission creep. Is it?

This is its reply in full:

“Broadband Delivery UK – a team within DCMS – was set up to deliver the Government’s broadband strategy, bringing superfast broadband to all parts of the UK.

“The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

“Our priority is to ensure the whole country can join the digital age by helping take superfast broadband to areas the market will not serve on its own.

“We have set out plans to provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses in each local authority area with superfast broadband access and everyone with access to at least 2Mbps.

“We are also exploring other ways to ensure Europe’s best superfast broadband network is in the UK.”


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/07/15 at 16:12

4 Responses

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  1. Hmm. It seems to me that there is a furthering of the intention to spread the jam far too thinly here. Firstly, as the BDUK website itself says, the pot of funding is there to solve the broadband problem and NOT the issue of county-wide IT infrastructure. It is quite clear that counties such as Cumbria have leapt on the opportunity to chuck CLEO into the pot and deal with a problem it cannot resolve alone – that of IT infrastructure and public sector IT services. But this is NOT what the TV licence fee money was intended for.

    Now, it appears that someone, somewhere has realised that the Final Third does actually occur in towns too – as we have been saying since the Notspot survey in 2004 which identified a multiplicity of people with central London postcodes, as well as Milton Keynes etc, who could not access anything approaching the rapidly declining definition of broadband.

    Market failure cannot constantly be propped up simply because the telcos have realised they have found a decidedly soft spot or weak point for this Government and can keep applying pressure for this money, that money and yet more money.

    If market failure is going to be so rampant across even greater swathes of the country than was previously accepted as the Final Third, then it is time to stop trying to slice and dice the money so thinly that when the coffers run dry, we are wondering just who actually managed to get a decent broadband connection that others in the world would call “nextgen”.

    I have, once again, a growing feeling of dread. Since 2001, successive governments have pandered to lobbyists, dithered about making a clear decision about what precisely this country needs, failed to set realistic targets, and been screwed mercilessly by greedy telcos looking to make up for their own inadequacies in the accountancy and pensions departments.

    It is UK Plc which is suffering this major #fail – citizens, businesses, employees, public and private sector, rural and urban, rich, poor, fat, thin, young, old, EVERYONE. Enough now, surely? Isn’t it time the EU (or someone with an ounce of common sense) stepped in and stopped this guff being spouted by Ofcom and multiple Govt departments, and regurgitated by the (mainly uninformed) mainstream media, that this country is on track for a best network anytime soon? The evidence clearly shows that it cannot possibly be.

    Lindsey Annison

    2011/07/15 at 16:33

  2. solutions?
    pour the funding into a river of fibre, light up the rurals who have nothing, take up will be great, let the rural networks start to leach customers from urban notspots, then the incumbents will stop pratting about with copper and market forces will deliver a truly great digital britain.

    Or keep patching up the copper crap, for infinity, call it ‘superfast’ (thats a joke) and give the rurals satellites or BEt.



    2011/07/15 at 16:47

  3. The mission creep is inevitable, the boys have to have joba after BDUK’s current pot of gold is spent.

    We keep setting up these bodies, but do they ever go away ? ADIT North and the East Midlands Broadband Consortium would be two examples of bodies that re-clothe themselves and continue in zombie form long after their original remit.


    2011/07/17 at 10:29

  4. BDUK seem to have answered different questions to the ones you asked…

    £50k probably not unusual to manage £500M budget.


    2011/07/17 at 22:14

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