Maria Miller urges councils to reveal broadband plans
29th Jul 2013 | 14:50
DCMS minister wants more transparency on roll out
Culture Secretary Maria Miller has written to local authorities urging them to go public on their plans to improve local broadband infrastructures.
"This information will help other broadband providers and community groups determine whether it is worth their while to develop local broadband projects to fill in gaps in coverage," Miller says in her letter. "It will also help clarify the position of those community broadband projects whose schemes are already planned in some detail. I am keen to see this information made available."
She adds: "I would strongly encourage those of you who have already signed contracts to arrange for the proposed coverage from your project to be published as soon as possible, and for those of you yet to sign contracts to incorporate it into your initial mobilisation activities."
Miller acknowledges that some details in the plans will be subject to change after the survey and design process is complete.
The move follows recent complaints that many rural areas still have inadequate broadband. Last week Parliament's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee urged the Government to focus more on ensuring that 95% of the UK can get a minimum downstream speed of 2Mbps rather than the roll out of fast fibre optic broadband.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told TRPro that Miller's decision to write was not prompted by the EFRA committee, but by BT's decision to drop its objection to the information being made public. The company is involved in all of the projects to improve broadband in rural areas and owns the information with the local authorities.
Last week BT claimed it can now connect fibre broadband into more than 16 million premises around the UK.