Laura Sharman 16 October 2020

Watchdog warns 2025 target for superfast broadband will be 'challenging'

Rural and remote areas have been left behind in plans to rollout superfast broadband, the public spending watchdog has warned.

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the Government’s target of rolling out superfast broadband nationwide by 2025 will be difficult to achieve for the hardest to reach premises.

Rural coverage of superfast broadband is at 80%, compared to 97% in urban areas it found.

The NAO said that the Superfast Programme helped the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport achieve its target of 95% superfast broadband coverage by 2017 broadly on time. It is now calling for a detailed plan and schedule for the £5bn Future Programme that will support delivery to the hardest to reach 20% of premises.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: ‘To deliver the government’s vision of achieving nationwide gigabit connectivity, the Department must manage the tension between meeting a challenging timeline and serving those in greatest need. Failure to do so risks leaving the hardest to reach areas even further behind and widening the urban-rural divide.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils need more funding to support telecommunication providers to deliver improvements on the ground.

Cllr Mark Hawhthorne, digital connectivity spokesperson for the LGA, said: 'The Government should use the upcoming Spending Review as an opportunity to empower councils to place a local digital champion in every local area to help facilitate delivery and support providers to install gigabit-capable broadband as quickly as possible.

'A local digital champion could then be a central contact point for government and broadband providers to help problem solve deployment issues in the local area.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Interim Head of Fostering

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Fostering, the local authority was last inspected as “... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers, the local authority... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Head of Regeneration and Economy

City of York Council
£59,593 - £68,094
York is a wonderful place to live and work and it is quite rightly famous across the globe. York, North Yorkshire / Hybrid
Recuriter: City of York Council

Clinical Lead, North Essex

Essex County Council
Clinical Lead, North EssexPermanent, Full TimeUp to £57,869 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director Legal,&Governance/Monitoring Officer

Rochdale BC
£70,340 - £81,589
The Assistant Director role has breadth of responsibility beyond legal services incorporating Constitutional and Democratic Services Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Rochdale BC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.