After spending £3million on consultants, the government's broadband plan is being questioned by the EU and by representatives at home for being badly planned:
The Government has been forced to put its broadband rollout on hold while the plan is investigated by the European Commission. The Broadband Delivery framework was designed to rollout superfast broadband across the UK by 2015, giving the UK the best broadband in Europe. However just two providers have been chosen to put in bids for the work - Fujitsu and BT. The European Commission feel that this is not competitive enough and have delayed the project for at least six months. The government has already spent £3 million on consultants to ensure the best companies are allocated towards building the infrastructure. However the government has said that no work will begin until Brussels have approved the plans.
The governments plans for the fastest and best broadband in Europe by 2015 have been questioned this week by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA). They suggest that the reliance on fibre optic networks and a slow funding process are likely to mean that the targets will not be reached. Broadband Delivery UK are investing £530 million to rollout broadband across rural communities. The CLA believe that the money should be allocated centrally rather than given to local councils who do not necessarily have the ability to plan for a superfast broadband scheme. It is also questioned if fibre optics are best for all parts of the country. The government plans to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the country by 2015, however an Ofcom report released last year suggested that just 58% of UK homes currently have access to superfast speeds. This news comes as the European Commission has delayed any further rollouts for at least six months over competition concerns.
Just two years late, YouView has finally been launched this week. The broadband enabled TV service which has access to Freeview channels and on-demand content is now able to be used by UK households. Consumers can purchase a set top box and watch programmes which have been previously shown by the four main networks. The boxes will cost £299 and a broadband connection is required. Lord Alan Sugar is behind the launch and he has said that it is a great moment in UK television. He even suggested it was better late than never. He expects that the low cost service will allow more subscribers to sign up and will be more successful than BT Vision which failed to capture the ' imagination.
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that UK broadband providers must give the cost of their service inclusive of the line rental when advertising broadband packages. Providers have been given three months to change the way they advertise, making it clear how much the entire package will cost with all related charges. The ASA received 18 complaints about a Virgin Media advert which did not include the rental price into the headline. This prompted the across the board change to the rules. The ASA said that because having a line rental was not optional, it must be included in the overall price. It must also be stated prominently because it may be thought of as a charge. The ASA is aware that the ruling will impact on the industry and as such have allowed three months for them to get their advertising in order. † [last update: 04.07.12]
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