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UK Isle of Wight Set to Pick BT for its Broadband Plan Despite Concern

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 (10:28 am) - Score 519

The Isle of Wight Council (IWC), which represents a small island just off England’s central south coast, finally looks set to name BT as the “preferred supplier” for their state aid supported £3.09 million project to rollout superfast broadband (25Mbps+) after council chiefs received fresh funding assurances from the UK government.

The decision to appoint BT was delayed last month after some councillors raised concerns about the schemes cost, its intended coverage (the money aims to help 20,000 premises with poor connectivity but BT’s contribution would only equate to about 24% of the total cost) and whether or not the project would risk creating another “private monopoly“ over local telecoms services (here).

It’s understood that a new vote will now take place on 10th September 2013, which comes shortly after the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) gave assurances that the government’s contribution would be spent first and that funding would only be drawn down as it is spent on invoices received.

Isle of Wight Radio also confirmed that the council had liaised with the Island Roads group to ensure that the rollout won’t cause any problems. Some councillors had been concerned that any further delay could risk a rejection of the local authority’s request for funding because it might fall outside of the current deadline.

The island is also home to a local wireless and cable operator, WightFibre (aka – WightCable), which has previously accused the IWC of being “biased in favour of BT” and of having shunned alternatives (here). As a side note the island is currently home to about 140,000 people.

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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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