BDUK whistleblower vindicated by BT cabinet deal
Mike Kiely, the sacked BDUK whistleblower who warned that BT is inflating the cost of street cabinets for next generation broadband access in rural areas, has had his prediction vindicated by a BT deal with a parish council.
BT says it is to supply fibre to two new street cabinets it will install in the Oxfordshire village of Binfield Heath, giving villagers access to an ‘up to’ 80Mbps broadband service.
BT says the village, 2.9 miles by car from the closest exchange in Caversham, was not included in its commercial roll-out plan. However, the 648 residents (according to the 2001 census) clubbed together to find the necessary £56,000, or £28,000 per cabinet.
BT’s press release quotes Paul Rollason, chairman of Binfield Heath Parish Council, saying, “The residents were determined not to miss out on faster broadband speeds, and formed an action group to talk to BT about how we could help the economic case to bring fibre to our part of Oxfordshire. They worked out the extra cost to rearrange and uplift the network, and between us, we have raised the funds.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said, “Binfield Heath’s residents … really engaged with us around the best solution for their community, and together we found a way to bring fibre speeds to almost the entire village; it’s a fantastic result.”
For BT. Two years ago the villagers of Iwade in Kent paid £12,667 for a street cabinet and fibre link to the exchange in Sittingbourne 4.4 miles away by car, a mile and a half further than the distance at Binfield Heath.
Iwade’s bill was close to the £13,000 average cost of cabinets installed during phase four of BT’s next generation (NGA) broadband roll-out in Northern Ireland, according to Kiely’s confidential report.
Kiely’s report showed that BT was inflating the cost of rural NGA cabinets to around £30,000 each, pretty much what Binfield Heath is paying.
The department of culture media and sport (DCMS), which manages BDUK, sacked Kiely after he blew the whistle on BT’s apparent price gouging and his report leaked to Br0kenTeleph0n3.
Binfield Heath vindicates Kiely’s report. Culture secretary Maria Miller should re-instate him at once, and sack those who turned a blind eye to his warning.