MP's dismay at £35m broadband roll-out setback
MP has expressed his dismay at the news that a bid by BT for a
£35m contract to provide broadband access to people across
Somerset has been rejected.
Connecting Devon and Somerset partnership said BT's best offer
did not meet value for money standards, and that it had now reissued
the tender for the work.
It also said the company could no longer meet a target of achieving
95% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2017. BT said it
had made its "best possible offer".
MP James Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It is disappointing
to see the collapse of the Phase 2 contract negotiations for the
Connecting Devon & Somerset project. I was never privy to
the finer detail of the contract, but I understand that there
was a significant gap between BTs offer and the expectations
of Devon and Somerset County Councils."
so far as ensuring value for money for their taxpayers should
always be their top priority, I support them in taking the robust
position that they have."
there is now a very worrying uncertainty around the future of
the project and I fear that this will mean a delay for those who
were likely to be connected under the Phase 2 contract."
the Wells Constituency, that would likely have included many of
our most rural villages and hamlets. We must move forward quickly
to ensure that a new tendering process brings a better offering
than the one just rejected from BT and to make sure that any delay
arising from the collapse of this deal will be kept to an absolute
will be joining other Somerset and Devon MPs in pushing Government
for a speedy renegotiation of the State Aid permissions and will
be wanting to work with the county councils as they seek new bidders
for this vital contract."
"Delivering superfast broadband remains my top priority as
it will unlock the economic potential of our area. We must move
forward at pace to find a solution that is better value for money
and rolls out more quickly."
a statement, BT said: "BT is committed to making high-speed
fibre broadband as widely available as possible and we are disappointed
that we have not yet been able to reach agreement on the next
phase of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme."
believe we have made the best possible offer to take superfast
broadband coverage beyond the current target of around 90% by
the end of next year, taking into account the challenging and
remote nature of some locations in the two counties."
added that a "huge engineering operation" would be required
and it estimated that it would taken more than 15 years for it
to get a return on its investment.