Broad­band blast from Vir­gin Me­dia

Daily Mail - - City & Finance -

VIR­GIN Me­dia’s boss has hit out at the Govern­ment’s £1.6bn broad­band scheme that it claims will bring BT a wind­fall of hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds.

The Govern­ment has promised to fund the roll­out of su­per­fast broad­band cov­er­age across 95pc of the coun­try un­der its Broad­band De­liv­ery UK plan.

BT has been awarded most of the fund­ing as the only regis­tered sup­plier to the main ten­der.

Vir­gin Me­dia’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Tom Mock­ridge has la­belled the scheme un­fair be­cause it gives ‘hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds of ex­cess re­turns’ to BT from the tax­payer.

Vir­gin Me­dia said Gov­ern­ment­funded broad­band is no longer nec­es­sary be­cause pri­vate telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies will in­vest in cre­at­ing a net­work to meet de­mand. Mock­ridge said: ‘Mar­ket fail­ure in the sup­ply of broad­band is a thing of the past. The UK al­ready has widely avail­able broad­band ac­cess through dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies and ser­vices – fi­bre, ca­ble, cop­per, satel­lite and wire­less. The BDUK scheme does not of­fer the tax­payer value for money.’

Vir­gin Me­dia claims BT stands to gain be­tween £320m and £869m over 20 years un­der the scheme.

BT said: ‘It is dis­ap­point­ing that Vir­gin Me­dia are seek­ing to de­rail a suc­cess­ful project that is de­liv­er­ing fi­bre broad­band to mil­lions of ru­ral homes and busi­nesses.

‘They have shown lit­tle or no in­ter­est in these ru­ral ar­eas to date, and so their in­ter­ven­tion is un­likely to be wel­comed.’

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