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Broadway Partners Challenge BT in UK Rural Areas via £10m Broadband Plan

Monday, Jun 24th, 2013 (8:18 am) - Score 624

Broadway Partners and Swedish fibre optic developer ViaEuropa have teamed up to promote the creation of an alternative “open access” superfast broadband network in rural parts of Devon, Dorset and the Cotswolds (England). But first they’ll have to find an initial £10 million.

The idea would apparently be to target the most remote rural areas, which BT’s own network could leave neglected. At present BT aims to cover 66% of the UK via its own £2.5bn commercial investment by spring 2014, although this is expected to hit 90% by 2017 or 2020 with support from the government’s £830m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) budget (plus an extra £1bn from BT itself).

Jonas Birgersson, Founder of ViaEuropa, said (The Telegraph):

[The United Kingdom] has to put up with one of the most limited and limiting broadband infrastructures in the developed world. We aim to help fix that.”

Unfortunately the article is less clear about where all this money would come from. The Broadway Partners website claims to “specialise in bringing together communities, industry and the public sector to deliver a funded and sustainable broadband solution” and points to a crowd-funded model through the FundTheGap website.

However related projects (e.g. Cotswolds Broadband) still seem to be a long way from achieving the necessary investment and hitting a target of £10 million could prove to be a tough uphill struggle. As a start it would be nice to see the scheme releasing more information about its intended coverage, targets and expectations.

People tend to only invest if they know whether or not they’re in an area that could benefit. The community supported B4RN project in Lancashire is a good example of how to gain publicity and support. But one huge challenge for a lot of similar schemes is being able to know where BT won’t upgrade, which is apparently still confidential information (here).

Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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