BT says billions more needed for broadband Britain

Telecoms firm claims ?2 billion of public money is needed
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Telecoms firm claims ?2 billion of public money is needed

BT management has told BBC Radio 5 Live that the telecoms firm is spending £2.5 billion on broadband expansion, but the Government's targets cannot be met without billions more.

Following the coalition Government's pledge to make the UK the "fastest Broadband nation in Europe by 2015", industry discussion has focused on the cost of delivering such a goal which includes delivering a minimum of 2Mb/s broadband to every home in Britain.

What's not clear is how the government intends to set the conditions to enable this to happen since there's no little cash available in the austerity-measure budget beyond £175 million already allocated as part of the Digital Switchover project.

BT said that BT said that it is spending £2.5 billion in the current program of broadband expansion which will ultimately result in around two thirds of homes having access to broadband. However Steve Robertson, chief executive of BT's Openreach wholesale arm, appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live, said that additional funds of £2 billion would be needed to meet the coalition's stated goal.

Minister in charge of the venture, Jeremy Hunt, told the BBC that costs had been "scoped" and claimed that "we should be able to deliver on our commitment." Hunt also said that the digital switchover levy on the BBC licence fee could be used to fund such a roll out and that it would be "short-term fix" to reach the 2Mb/s target. 

However research outfit Point Topic said that the true cost of bringing broadband to every home in Britain could be nearer £5b. 

Click here to see Point Topic's UK broadband coverage map.