Broadband blast from Virgin Media
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.’