UK rural fiber plan behind schedule

UK government officials say rural fiber rollout plans are running almost two years behind schedule, and competition for deployment contracts has been limited.

The National Audit Office, the department that monitors government spending, predicts a target to cover 90% of premises in each region with fiber by May 2015 won’t be achieved until March 2017, due to delays getting approval for the scheme under EU State aid rules, and alack of competition for rollout contracts that means BT is likely to win all 44 local agreements.

“The rural broadband project is moving forward late and without the benefit of strong competition to protect public value. For this we will have to rely on the Department’s active use of the controls it has negotiated and strong supervision by Ofcom,” says Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.