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Gov't urged to speed up rural broadband trials

Tenders haven't even been put out, four months after scheme announced

The government has come under fire after work on four trials that hope to bring superfast broadband to rural areas.

In October last year, the government pledged to spend £530m on giving the residents North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Herefordshire and the Highlands broadband, despite the areas previously being deemed uneconomically viable.

Broadband Delivery UK, the government organisation tasked with managing the roll-out of 2Mbps broadband across the whole of the UK, was named as the body to oversee the project, which would effect around two million homes and use some £300m from the digital switchover fun.

"It will help encourage the growth of our creative industries as a key part of the new economy we are seeking to build," Chancellor George Osborne said at the time.

However, nearly four months on, the tenders for the project have yet to be put out, let alone the scheme actually getting underway.

"You've got to start from the premise that these are pilot projects that were announced in October and there's only four or them," said Ian Lucas, Labour MP for Wrexham, according to PC Pro.

"Before we can make any progress, the pilot projects have to be commenced and assessed. At the moment they haven't even been tendered for, let alone commenced."

Lucas said he was "trying to press the government to pull its finger out and get this moving as quickly as possible. No progress can be made as the particulars of the trials haven't been specified from the government."

Culture minister Ed Vaizey recently revealed during parliamentary questions that "Broadband Delivery UK is working closely with the local procuring authorities on the timetable for commencing the pilot procurements. No dates are fixed at this time, but will be made public at the earliest opportunity".

See also: Carrier pigeon faster than rural broadband

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