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Frustration as 36 out of 47 UK Local Authorities Meet BDUK Broadband Deadline

Thursday, May 24th, 2012 (8:03 am) - Score 1,355
parliament house of commons uk

The UK governments Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has signalled his frustration after having to reveal that 11 local authorities (county councils etc.) “aren’t working hard enough or fast enough” and failed to get their Local Broadband Plans (LBP) approved before the end of the April 2012 deadline last month.

The coalition government aims for 90% of people in each UK local authority area to be within reach of a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) service by the middle of 2015 (the last 10% only get a “commitment” for speeds of at least 2Mbps) and for us to have “the best superfast broadband network in Europe” (scored on more than just speed).

Unfortunately the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has now been forced to reiterate its warning that those areas which do not complete their LBP will be at risk of having their allocated funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office’s budget of £530mwithdrawn“.

The Governments’ Secretary of State for Culture (DCMS), Jeremy Hunt, said:

Most local authorities are making excellent progress in delivering superfast broadband but there are still some that aren’t working hard enough or fast enough.

Residents and businesses in the Black Country, East Riding, Essex, Portsmouth, Southampton and Telford & Wrekin risk being left in the broadband slow lane unless the councils sort out their broadband plans.

We’ve put our money on the table and now we need every council to do the same, for the sake of jobs, growth and public services in their area.”

Overall roughly 76.6% of local authority projects have been given the green light to proceed (up from 40% in March 2012), yet the government has embarrassingly also been forced to report that a joint project in Portsmouth, Southampton (Hampshire Project) and Telford & Wrekin (Shropshire Project) has “since withdrawn” from BDUK’s scheme.

Likewise North and South Tyneside have continued to show no interest in the governments scheme, albeit because both expect to meet or even exceed the government’s target without recourse to public funding (it’s a shame they don’t take the funds and aim for 100% instead of 90%).

The 11 Late / Withdrawn UK Local Broadband Plans

East Riding of Yorkshire
* Continuing to work on their plans and BDUK have written to the authorities urging them to complete the work as soon as possible
Allocated Funding: £5,570,000

Essex, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock
* Continuing to work on their plans and BDUK have written to the authorities urging them to complete the work as soon as possible
Allocated Funding: £6,460,000

Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall
* Continuing to work on their plans and BDUK have written to the authorities urging them to complete the work as soon as possible
Allocated Funding: £500,000

Greater Manchester
* Awaiting Local Broadband Plan
Allocated Funding: £990,000

Newcastle upon Tyne
* Awaiting Local Broadband Plan
Allocated Funding: £970,000

Birmingham
* Awaiting Local Broadband Plan
Allocated Funding: £130,000

Portsmouth
* Withdrawn from BDUK
Allocated Funding: n/a

Telford and Wrekin
* Withdrawn from BDUK
Allocated Funding: n/a

Southampton
* Withdrawn from BDUK
Allocated Funding: n/a

South Tyneside
* Withdrawn from BDUK / No Plan Submitted
Allocated Funding: n/a

North Tyneside
* Withdrawn from BDUK / No Plan Submitted
Allocated Funding: n/a

BDUK has since given Telford & Wrekin until the end of May 2012 to re-join the Shropshire project or their funding will be withdrawn. Meanwhile both Portsmouth and Southampton are eligible for the £50m second round of additional / smaller Super-Connected City (Urban Broadband Fund) cash but the government has warned that “any application will be dependent on them having or being part of approved plans for taking broadband to rural areas“.

The situation means that several areas, unless they can come up with a viable non-BDUK plan of their own, could be left trailing behind the rest of the country. In that case it’s possible that the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office could still step in and apply the funding directly, although no final decision has been taken. Meanwhile many remain concerned at the lack of choice in BDUK’s process, with BT left as the only option for most areas.

Local Broadband Plan Status 23rd May 2012 (Google Doc)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ah3sVRjT82kKdE9UUjl2VEJDaWZHV1BldXgzUDdxcWc

Local Broadband Plans Map (Google Maps)
http://g.co/maps/9f6av

UPDATE 12:34pm

Forgot to remind readers that, once approved, the plans have about 12 months to put out their tender and select a winning bid. Not that it should be hard to pick a winner, given that BT are the only ones bidding (except for two locations targeted by Fujitsu).

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. All areas are not equal in what they have as regards superfast broadband now. An example would be Birmingham that has extensive cable already (Virgin Media). Hence the low amount.

    Jeremy Hunt no doubt has access to superfast broadband so any frustration can be balanced against real frustration that Towns such as Tavistock suffer. Under 3 miles away from Superfast Cornwall where many Towns are no larger than Tavistock in fact more are far smaller.

  2. Avatar Deduction

    BDUK is a joke, was from the start, speaks volumes now that up and down the country even local authorities cant be bothered with it anymore.

    • Avatar desouzr

      I’ll withhold judgement until the end of June when North Yorkshire should announce who has won the contract here and more details on the technology to be used in each area and timescales for deployment.

  3. Avatar Phil

    BDUK is a biggest joke ever! Council could spend it on something elses (not broadband) and do you think council really care about broadband ? The answer is NONE! Telford & Wrekin Council ought to be ashamed of themselves! Telford never interest in broadband. Disgraceful.

  4. Avatar SlowSomerset

    Also think BDUK is a joke so drawn out when oh when .is somerset going to show its roll out plans anyone know.

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