Laura Sharman 25 March 2015

County councils fear broadband target will be missed

Nearly half of county councils (45%) are concerned the Government's target for rolling out superfast broadband will not be met, a new survey reveals.

The research into the state of county broadband shows that many councils don't think the target of 95% coverage by 2017 is achievable, with increasing concerns regarding the value and transparency of the programme.

The survey by the County Councils Network also showed that 65% believe the commercial confidentially in contracts was preventing them from demonstrating best value for their investment.

Cllr Martin Hill, spokesman for infrastructure at the County Councils Network, said: 'The Superfast Broadband Programme is on the right track, but it needs to be more flexible and transparent to ensure our goals are met and the final 5% of unconnected communities get access to broadband at a reasonable price. BDUK need to ensure counties can obtain best value for their investments.

'We also need schemes like Broadband Connectivity Vouchers to move out of cities and support businesses in our communities. The UK economy cannot afford a two speed digital landscape.'

Despite the concerns, the majority of counties (81%) thought the digital gap between urban and rural broadband coverage was closing.

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