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BT wants to poke fingers in EVERY broadband cash pie

Minister grilled as telco bids for all eight cabling gigs

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Broadband minister Ed Vaizey confirmed to MPs yesterday that BT was bidding for all eight cabling projects currently in procurement.

Labour politico Chi Onwurah asked Vaizey if the national telco would bag all the contracts with local authorities and devolved administrations.

She asked: "What assessment has [Vaizey] made of the likelihood that all Broadband Delivery UK's superfast broadband funding will be allocated to BT?"

The minister replied that now that funds had been allocated to local councils and the Scottish government, it was up to those individual authorities to dish out the cash.

"BT are bidding for the eight projects currently in procurement, and are one of the suppliers bidding to be included on the Broadband Delivery Framework which we expect will be used for most of the remaining procurements for the rural programme," Vaizey said.

"City authorities will be allocated funding from Urban Broadband Fund and will be responsible for the supplier selection under their respective procurements."

Separately, Lib Dem MP Tim Farron asked Vaizey if his department had assessed the possibility of introducing a universal service obligation (USO) for the provision of broadband.

The minister, who said it had been mulled over as part of the European Commission's public consultation on universal service principles, batted aside the suggestion.

"Only three member states — Finland, Spain and Malta — have included broadband in their national USO," Vaizey said.

"The UK's position is that the time is not right to introduce a broadband USO as it may constrain private investment in networks. The current non-regulatory approach to delivering universal broadband is considered the most effective means of stimulating commercial investment while minimising costs to the public purse." ®

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