Local authorities are responsible for BDUK coverage maps says comms minister header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Local authorities are responsible for publishing coverage maps relating to the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) rollout.

This is according to communications minister Ed Vaizey, who discussed the issue in a parliament debate on super-fast broadband in northern England on Tuesday (April 8th). 

The lack of information about when and where improved services will be rolled out has been widely criticised and there has been some confusion as to whether BT or local councils are responsible for this. 

Eric Ollerenshaw, Conservative MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, questioned the communications minister on this issue due to concerns about the BDUK project in his constituency. 

Mr Vaizey responded by saying BT is not responsible for the current lack of information about the project. 

"The local authority is in charge of the map, and there is nothing to stop it from publishing a map, however detailed," he stated. 

Mr Vaizey also claimed people's expectations need to be managed regarding the rollout of improved services as "circumstances can change"

"When the van and tools arrive in a particular area, it might turn out that it is going to be three times more expensive than expected. Another area might turn out to be twice as easy as expected."

However, Mr Ollerenshaw questioned whether the government was taking onboard the latest report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which expressed concerns about BT being allowed to establish a monopoly through the BDUK project. 

He claimed there has never been an example of a government funding initiative in which every single contract was granted to one company and asked how the organisation's performance is going to be managed and assessed.

Mr Vaizey responded by saying the coalition audits all of BT's actions and claimed he is happy to debate the effectiveness of the BDUK scheme with PAC chair Margaret Hodge as he is "utterly confident" the project is delivering value for money.

He also praised BT for the work it did to keep the rollout going during the recent floods.