Government 'is failing on broadband' header image

Published: 10th Jul 2014

The success of the coalition government's broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project has been heavily criticised by the Scottish National Party.

Ahead of the vote for Scottish independence this September, the party has claimed that David Cameron and his cabinet's plans to roll out broadband across more areas of the UK are failing to yield the results that were promised.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil made the claims in the House of Commons, arguing that many rural areas are being left behind because the government has not prioritised them enough when allocating resources to BDUK.

He said: "Rural areas have been let down badly by a lack of adequate mobile and broadband coverage.
"The Department of Culture Media and Sport acts as if everything is rosy, but we are years behind other countries and when it comes to the Highlands of Scotland it appears both clueless and disinterested."

Much of the negative attention the project has been the subject of is because of the decision to award the majority of the contracts needed to install infrastructure to one company, BT.

It has been claimed that this breeds a lack of healthy competition and means rural areas are more likely to lose out, because BT does not deem locations with lower population densities to be commercially viable.

Mr MacNeil said communications minister Ed Vaizey has "failed to grasp" the concept of the development, leaving those who live in more remote areas struggling to keep up both socially and economically.

In the modern business climate, firms are finding high connection speeds are essential for facilities like large file sharing, cloud computing, and downloads and uploads. With areas of the UK that have been left out of the BDUK rollouts potentially being subjected to speeds of two Mbps or less, some are even choosing to relocate in search of a faster broadband service.