Keep up to date with the latest news delivered direct to your Inbox.
BT Defends Superfast Broadband Roll Out
3:54pm 1st April 2014
The roll-out of superfast broadband in rural areas like Cornwall is under fire.
BT has won all 44 contracts across the UK including in the Duchy.
Now a powerful committee of MPs claims there is a lack of information about coverage and speed and not enough competition.
Chair Margaret Hodge said: "Think about the farmer who wants to get his European subsidies, who is told by DEFRA that the only way in which he can get those is by applying online and then he finds he has a really slow broadband connection.
"People in rural communities can't make alternative provisions which they're anxious to do to ensure they access that broadband and for the very isolated communities, like farmers, it's an absolute must."
A BT spokesman said: "BDUK is a successful programme that is delivering tangible benefits to communities across the UK. It is therefore frustrating that the committee continues to try and pick holes in the programme rather than recognise the wider value and benefits it is delivering.
"We respect the role of the committee but we feel their criticism of BT is inaccurate and unjustified. BT was the only company willing to accept the challenging terms on offer and make a significant investment in rural areas. This was at a time when others walked away when they realised easy pickings weren't to be had. Claims that BT is a 'monopoly' are simply inaccurate given more than 100 internet service providers (ISPs) are offering fibre broadband across BT's open network.
"BT is delivering value for money and the National Audit Office acknowledged there are 'robust' processes in place to ensure that. DCMS and BDUK have full sight of BT's costs so there is a very high level of transparency. Our solution was also cheaper and better than the bids submitted by our competitors - before they walked away - and those terms still apply. It is also the case we do not get paid until we have submitted detailed invoices showing the costs we have incurred.
"As for maps, most councils have published coverage maps with our support. More detailed data will be released by them in due course once surveys have been completed and we know for sure that we are going to an area."
Share This StoryTweet
Ultrafast Broadband Is Coming To Cornwall
St Austell will be among the first in the UK to trial the new G.fast technology
WATCH: Pet Oxygen Masks Could Be Rolled Out Across Cornwall
Click to see the masks in action for the first time...
WATCH: Firefighter's Death Sparks Mannequin Challenge
Cornish crews staged this video as a road safety warning
PHOTOS: Cornish Mum Takes 'Elf On The Shelf' To New Level
You won't believe what the cheeky chaps have been up to...
WATCH: Norovirus Outbreak Hits Cornwall
Cornwall News: We are being urged to help stop the spread of the winter bug by following easy steps...
Drone flown 20m from jet 11,000ft over London
National News: A drone was flown as close as 20m from a passenger jet at 11,000ft above London - in one of the most serious near-misses this year.
Business Cornwall News - Friday, 18th December 2015
Business Cornwall News: Cornwall is spearheading reform of the Uk’s business licensing laws following a a year-long project.
1D star Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 43
Showbiz News: The mother of One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has died aged 43 after battling leukaemia.
Badminton and wheelchair rugby among sports to lose Olympic funding
Sports News: Archery, badminton, fencing, weightlifting and wheelchair rugby will not get funding in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Former Argos security guard elected Gambia president
Strange News: A former Argos security guard has ended the 22-year rule of the president of Gambia in a shock election victory.