Superfast broadband not arriving super-quickly as schedule slips

Missed targets all 'round

The UK's superfast broadband plans have suffered a bit of a setback as it emerged that a major target has been missed.

We may not see a national superfast fibre optic network in place by 2015 now, as the timetable for local authorities to source providers and equipment through the government's suppliers has been set back by at least three months.

It's all down to very tedious things like 'procurement schedules', 'tenders' and 'bidding frameworks' – basically there are EU rules about the funding that can be used as part of the project and agreeing those took longer than expected.

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Thrilling stuff

Now that they're in place, bidding by companies like BT and Fujitsu which want to put the network in place can begin – but they were supposed to be in place by April 2012 (that's right, calendar fans, three months ago).

This means that the procurement process won't be complete by December 2012 (or, as a DCMS spokesman said, "It is… unlikely.") so the network won't be fully operational by the original 2015 target.

However, it's not all bad news. Some areas of the UK will still be on the super-speedy internet connections by 2015 – likely the "super-connected cities" of Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

No doubt the latest set back will only fuel the House of Lords' conviction that the government's prioritisation of quick-sharp broadband provision rather than easy access for rurual areas is all wrong.

From the Financial Times


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