Greater broadband investment for rural areas needed, says BT

Super-fast broadband can reach every rural residence according to an executive at BT, but to do so will require greater government support.

Bill Murphy, BTs managing director for Next Generation Access, stated that the government’s plan to provide near total national broadband coverage can be achieved but will require “more funding”.

Approximately £1.7 billion of government, council and EU funding has been already pledged to improving the UKs broadband coverage.

Murphy said that BT’s partnership with local government is “re-wiring the UK” which will lead to a revolution where people can “live where they want to live, and work where they want to work” without having to consider broadband coverage.

In terms of meeting current targets, Murphy said that the 90% coverage target for December 2015 will be met he added that the target of 95% coverage for December 2017 represents a “challenge”.

Murphy suggested that a target of 99% total coverage is attainable, with the most remote areas covered by satellites from private firms. However, he clarified achieving these targets are only possible “if you have enough money”.

He says having to deliver “on time, speed and coverage for fixed time and money” makes it a “very risky business”.

Despite an estimated 15 years before firms will gain on their investments, Murphy asserted that BT’s model “works and it’s sustainable.” He added that in some parts of the UK it will be 20 years and warned “get your finances wrong and it can cost much higher.”

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