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Lords criticise governments £530m broadband upgrade programme

Written by Susan Care

Posted on August 1, 2012

The house of Lords communications committee criticised the governments broadband upgrade program in a report published yesterday.

Lord Inglewood, chair of the committee, said the current strategy was based upon achieving certain speeds across the country was wrong and the emphasis should be on universal access allowing consumers to get what they want and to pay accordingly.

He further suggested that initial thinking behind the development of the broadband network had been based around how a telephone system works and that two were not the same and this would stifle competition and would not be future proof.

The report proposed an alternative strategy of creating a network of open access fibre-optic hubs that would be within reach of every community.

BT is currently the only service provider competing for the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds, Fujitsu having pulled out from bids for regional tenders in Cumbria and North Yorkshire areas.

Liv Garfield, the Chief Executive of BT Openreach expressed surprise at the critical nature of the report, saying that currently over 99% of the population had access to broadband and that Britain had the most competitive marketplace in Europe. She admitting that currently, outside densely populated areas, the majority of broadband relied upon old copper telephone lines which would limit speeds.

However she said that, working in conjunction with the other broadband suppliers, fibre-optic cables would be available to over 90% of the population by 2017. BT Openreach are aiming to launch their “Fibre on demand” product in Spring 2013 where customers can choose whether to have fibre-optic cable into their homes.

If you haven’t compared your broadband supplier with the competition recently you may be pleasantly surprised by the options available to you and either save on broadband costs or upgrade to a faster service.