Jeremy Hunt threatens to withdraw super-fast broadband cash
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has threatened to withdraw super-fast broadband funding from councils if they fail to submit their delivery plans by the end of February.
in December, local authorities were given the deadline to hand in their draft broadband proposals, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport warning at the time that state investment may not remain available to councils that miss this target.
Speaking to the all-party local government group, Mr Hunt said he does not want the Conservative-led coalition's target of delivering the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015 to become "bogged down in paper procurement", reports the Guardian.
"There is £530 million on the table to help deliver this, but I have to had to say that if broadband contracts aren't actually signed by the end of this year I will consider taking this back," the Culture Secretary stressed.
Once the draft broadband plans are submitted, councils must work with the government to agree a final rollout strategy by the end of April.
To be eligible for state financial support, each local authority needs to have match-funding in place from the private sector, European bodies and their own budgets.