MPs accuse BT of rural broadband service "monopoly"

A new Parliamentary report examining the rollout of a £1.2bn rural broadband programme across the UK has criticised the government and BT for a failure to "deliver meaningful competition".

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the telecoms provider now finds itself in a "monopoly position" and was "exploiting" those wanting high-speed internet in rural locations.

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Concerns have also been raised over a lack of "consistently good information" from local agencies in relation to proposed rural broadband coverage across the UK and download speeds.

The committee called for the publication of maps that outline where and when superfast internet is going to be rolled out at a seven-digit postcode level.

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Other recommendations by the PAC is the collection, analysis and publication of costs data from the current scheme to inform how bids in the next round of funding are considered.

PAC chair Margaret Hodge said: "The government has failed to deliver meaningful competition in the procurement of its £1.2bn rural broadband programme.

"We see the lack of transparency on costs and BT’s insistence on non-disclosure agreements as symptomatic of BT’s exploiting its monopoly position."

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by Pete Hayman

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Pete was content editor on What Hi-Fi?, overseeing production and publication of digital content. In creating and curating feature articles for web and print consumption, he provided digital and editorial expertise and support to help reposition What Hi-Fi? as a ‘digital-first’ title; reflecting the contemporary media trends. He is now a senior content strategist.