Why are councils focusing on large demand surveys for broadband?
Some local authorities are perhaps taking the requirements to be able to show that there is demand for better broadband services in their area a little too seriously. Suffolk County Council set itself a target of 10,000 registrations for its faster broadband scheme, and has exceeded this with 11,300 sign ups. It is extending the deadline now until April 14th.
Now while the deadline shifting is not massive, it begs the question why? It is often mentioned that the survey's are needed to demonstrate to potential bidders that there is demand for better services in a county, and thus the bidder should invest. Alas the BDUK tendering process appears to be down to two runners, BT in the guise of Openreach, and Fujitsu.
The message should be loud and clear to local authorities, get on with the tendering process and awarding the contracts. Then work can start and businesses and residents reap the benefits.
It is clear that many projects will award their contract to BT, perhaps a case of better the devil you know, if Fujitsu with its fibre to the premises project had used the time since putting itself forward as an option to starting providing service in several smaller towns across the UK then we believe the story may have been different.