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Countryside Alliance blasts government for broadband inaction

Mat Bettinson
Fox hunting denied benefits of high speed broadband

Rural pressure group The Countryside Alliance has said that government plans to pilot superfast broadband in rural regions have stalled with local authorities having done very little in the year since the scheme was announced.

Using freedom of information act requests, the group discovered that two councils hadn't "spent a penny" while others were merely working at finding local suppliers.

The Countryside Alliance said that the government "is talking a great game but not delivering."

"It has been over a year since these pilots were set up and the people who live in areas with no or unreliable broadband coverage haven’t seen any improvement," said Countryside Alliance chief Alice Barnard.

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"Unless more is done to simplify the process of acquiring and implementing rural broadband projects, the digital divide will continue to grow and the money pledged by the Coalition will remain all but worthless."

A number of companies including Fujitsu, Cable and Wireless and Geo UK have withdrawn from all or some of the bidding for the networks. Geo UK said that the current conditions of the bidding heavily favor the "incumbent", in other words BT.

Tags: rural broadband

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