Friday, 27th September 2013
UK: The Rural Broadband Programme
Source: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (UK)
From Conclusions and Recommendations:
The Programme is designed to help get superfast broadband to areas, predominately rural, where commercial broadband infrastructure providers currently have no plans to invest. Under the Programme the Department provides grant funding to 44 bodies (local authorities or groups of authorities) to subsidise them to procure the superfast broadband services for their areas. The Department has developed a framework contract for local bodies to use and also offers them support in negotiating with the supplier to provide the infrastructure required to fill in the gaps in commercial coverage. The Department has allocated £490 million in grant funding to local authorities for the Programme until 2015 and is also seeking matched funding from local authorities and capital investment from the supplier, BT....
The Department’s assumptions in its 2011 business case about the respective capital contributions of the public and private sectors were wildly inaccurate. BT is committing £207 million less (£356 million rather than £563 million) in capital funding than the Department anticipated in its business case, while local authorities on the other hand are contributing £236 million more (£730 million, rather than £494 million). Nevertheless, BT will still benefit from owning assets created from £1.2 billion of public funding once the Programme is complete.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.
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