Three-month delay is another nail in the coffin for BDUK
After being stung by criticism from the House of Lords Communications Committee, the last thing the government needed was for its broadband strategy to be hit by a delay.
But sadly - and somewhat predictably - that's exactly what's happened. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has admitted to the Financial Times that its timetable for procurement of broadband delivery contracts has slipped by a minimum of three months due to the need for ongoing negotiations with the EU.
What's most frustrating about this news isn't the delay itself, but the sheer inevitability of this issue arising. It was clear to anyone with a passing knowledge of the government's strategy that EU officials were going to stick their noses in and potentially push back the whole process.
This all stems from the Conservative-led coalition's decision to name just two companies - BT and Fujitsu - as approved suppliers for the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework. That meant only those two firms had been given the green light to bid for the £750 million of public money tabled for the improvement of broadband connections.
Surely it should have been obvious that with just two providers approved, European chiefs were going to get twitchy about the framework breaking guidelines on state aid? Apparently it wasn't to anyone involved in the strategy.
We've tried not to get caught up in all the negativity surrounding BDUK, which has attracted vitriolic criticism from some quarters ever since it was introduced more than two years ago.
However, it's starting to become apparent that those involved in the project simply haven't given enough thought to their actions, leaving the entire process at risk of falling down.
If the government is to achieve its oft-stated aim of delivering the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by the end of 2015, BDUK really needs to get its act together.
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