Merseyside authorities surprised by allocation of BDUK money
It is not clear from coverage in the local press in the Knowsley local authority area as to when the allocation of £5.46m of funding from the larger £530m BDUK pot was actually a surprise, it seems likely that the naming and shaming of the area in the recent weeks was the trigger point. This speaks volumes both about how the Broadband Delivery UK is being ran, and about the authority itself, the basic allocations were announced in the summer of 2011, so an important question is whether BDUK pro-actively contacted authorities to ensure they were aware of the allocation.
Merseyside currently has some 28,000 properties getting a poor broadband service, and the plan being put together appears to be aiming for the standard 90% at 25 Mbps or faster, with improved speeds of up to 10 Mbps across the rest of the region. Knowsley Council is to spend some £29,000 to develop the broadband plan, but as with other areas the various councils will need to raise enough to match fund the £5.46m from the BDUK and with just under two weeks to go this is a very tight time scale to meet.
The Wirral has been the location where Fujitsu had been trialling the use of PIA to roll-out a Fibre to the Home service, which makes it even stranger that the council was not aware of the BDUK allocation. With Fujitsu working in the area, one would hope that they stand a very good chance in the tendering process that will follow if the plan is submitted.