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CLA Expects UK Government to Miss its 2015 Superfast Broadband Target

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 (8:45 am) - Score 601

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), a land owners lobby group for England and Wales, has warned that the UK governments plan to help roll-out superfast broadband (24-30Mbps+) services to 90% of the country by 2015 (the last 10% will get at least 2Mbps) could be missed because of a “slow funding process” and “reliance on fibre optic networks“.

CLA President, Harry Cotterell, is expected to tell a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee evidence session on the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project today that the current “process is too bureaucratic” and risks prolonging the rural-urban digital divide.

Harry Cotterell, CLA President, warned:

We recognise that delivering this type of infrastructure is not easy but it is unlikely the Government will meet these objectives.

The BDUK process is too bureaucratic and the allocation of the £530 million funding too slow. It would be much simpler if the funding was allocated centrally rather than giving it directly to local authorities because they do not have the resource to plan for a superfast broadband network.

An over-reliance on fibre optic is also a factor in the Government’s poor chance of meeting these deadlines. The CLA advocates a patchwork quilt model that uses the most appropriate technologies for a certain area, rather than using a single technology, so everyone can benefit from broadband.”

In fairness we’re not convinced that the central government has any more resources than local authorities to tackle the problem and at least councils should, in an ideal world where everything actually works and we’re all rich, have a better understanding of the unique local challenges. Unfortunately no politically managed process seems able to run without some level of bureaucracy.

As to the issue of whether or not a single non-fibre based technology would be best? Sadly that’s difficult to examine without knowing precisely what the CLA actually has in mind. Past articles lead us to suspect that the CLA might be referring to the next generation of “4G” superfast Mobile Broadband services or something similar, yet even wireless can’t reach everywhere and has its own unique challenges.

Indeed it’s sometimes easy to forget that most viable superfast wireless solutions can’t actually deliver such a service without first being supplied by capacity from a strong fixed line connection (usually a fibre optic line with some small uptake of Microwave alternatives), thus a patch-work approach with different solutions is difficult to avoid.

Mr Cotterell also noted that the CLA and NFU were still “engaged in discussions to produce” a national broadband wayleave agreement, which they claim could create a more stable platform for those infrastructure providers willing to develop superfast broadband networks in rural areas. But then this is nothing new and was first announced almost a full year ago (here). It was originally hoped to be in place before the end of last year but obviously such an agreement is extremely difficult to achieve.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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13 Responses
  1. New_Londoner says:

    Not entirely convinced that the CLA can lay claim to any paticular expertise in this subject? Ironic it is highlighting the delays in the public sector processes when it is unable to produce a national broadband wayleave agreement after over a year – no difficult state aid issues, procurements required for this.

  2. dragoneast says:

    Alas it seems these days that everything in this country is driven by soundbites and registering an approval on the never-ending political polling (same everywhere, of course – but not to the exclusion of everything else). Technical competence seems hardly ever to get a look-in. Can’t help thinking our Victorian forebears did it better, and the other way round – like modern successful economies such as Germany, the Far East, Scandinavia and the Swiss, and may be even in some respects, the Americans. Never mind, we’re giving a good impression of a banana republic . . .

  3. Chris Conder says:

    Best to fund altnets, get some competition going and market forces will deliver a solution.

  4. Bob says:

    Not a hope in hell of meeting it unless they come up with some spin. Nowhere 90% can get 2Mbs let alone 30MBS and with BT constantly slipping and BDUK going nowhere at presnt it would need one almight great push starting now to reach that figure

  5. SlowSomerset says:

    I agree Bob not a chance In hell like you said BT keep slipping and no competion to BT and BDUK going nowhere at all but what do you expect this is the UK same old storie.
    What really needs to happen is for the Goverment to really get to grips with and also sort BT out oh look out the BT fan boys are on the way.

  6. Paul. says:

    Harry is probably right, when one bears in mind that many large towns such as Darlington (pop >97,000) are not even on the FTTC roll-out calendar (currently loosely defined through to the end of 2013) yet.

  7. DTMark says:

    I haven’t achieved my target of going to the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives yet.

    But that is because I have yet to make any firm plans which might result in that outcome.

  8. Deduction says:

    Well said Chris conder, bob and Slowsomerset 🙂

    1. FibreFred says:

      Yes well done to you both 🙂

  9. SlowSomerset says:

    Ha ha looks like the BT Employee is here.

    1. Deduction says:

      Dunno why it has not been punished yet, does nothing but troll and bait people, and its not even very good at that.

  10. Bob says:

    Biggest problem is that BT have not a clue about planning large projects. How many times are we seeing things delayed because BT has not bothered to obtain planning consent or organised mains power. THey have a list of exchanges and cabinets they should be obtaining planning consent up front and discusing power installation shedule up front instead BT just do it days before they want to start work.

    1. Deduction says:

      quote”…instead BT just do it days before they want to start work.”

      I think you are over estimating their organisational skills even with that 😀

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