Govt launches broadband state-aid evaluation header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The government's project to bring super-fast internet access to the UK has proved controversial from the onset and has been plagued by criticisms and question marks throughout its lifespan.

Now, the coalition has invited an independent third party to carry out an evaluation of the use of state aid in the scheme. 

Economic analyst firm Oxera has been appointed to look into whether Broadband Delivery UK's (BDUK) National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is using public funding effectively.

A government statement said: "The evaluation will be used to verify whether the NBS has been to date implemented in full compliance with the Decision and the Broadband Guidelines; and to understand whether its National Broadband Scheme has met its primary objectives and assess the impact of the scheme on markets and competition, in line with the State aid Evaluation Methodology."

Stakeholders in the broadband rollout have been invited to contact Oxera by December 10th if they have anything to add to the enquiry. Once the organisation's research is complete, the government said it will be used to support BDUK's application for a second round of public funding next year.

ISPreview has claimed this means the evaluation is unlikely to contain many criticisms of the project and due to the December 10th deadline, there is "not enough time for a serious review to take serious responses".

The BDUK project aims to bring super-fast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. However, the scheme has been widely criticised, with complaints ranging from arguments that it is focusing on the wrong parts of the country to suggestions it is allowing BT to establish a monopoly.

One of the main problems with the scheme is the dearth of information that has been published about when and where improved connectivity will be available. As a result, many people are left in broadband limbo, unsure of whether they should pursue alternative means of securing better internet access. Read our guide to learn more.