Slow progress for superfast broadband rollout
12 November 2012
By Matthew D'Arcy
Only a handful of taxpayer funded next generation broadband contracts have actually been signed, despite UK government promises to deliver the best superfast broadband network in the Europe by 2015, it has emerged.
Communications minister Ed Vaizey admitted that out of all of the county and devolved administration broadband projects across the UK, only five supplier contracts had so far been signed.
Hundreds of millions of pounds had been set aside for broadband projects. But the majority - a total of 26 - were still in pre-procurement.
Vaizey, who was responding to a parliamentary question, also said that 12 projects were currently in procurement.
Led locally by councils across the country and devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, procurement is not expected to be complete until the summer months of 2013.
And this was on the provision that "the projects keep to the timetable".
In January the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt
told councils that if they failed to sign broadband contracts by the end of 2012 then their funding could be withdrawn.
He would "put the fire up everyone's backsides", he said. "There is £530m on the table to help deliver this, but I have to had to say that if broadband contracts aren't actually signed by the end of this year I will consider taking this back."