Socitm urges public-sector CIOs to drive superfast broadband rollout

By Derek du Preez
31 Jan 2012 View Comments
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Socitm, an association for ICT professionals working in the public sector, has urged public sector CIOs to fully engage with politicians and the local community in order to deliver sufficient next generation broadband in rural areas.

A new report, titled 'Rural Broadband: Superfast or Superslow?', argues that local authority CIOs are best placed to deliver broadband projects and therefore should take a leadership role.

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The report reads: "Only these professionals have sufficient technical knowledge to assemble a practical design and business case, coupled with a deep understanding of the community benefits.

"As a start, they can access local knowledge to build a map of 'not spot' and 'no go' areas. They are in the best possible position to convince politicians and local people of the need for more action."

However, Socitm also argues that the hardest job for CIOs will be to organise different groups so that they can work together, assembling funding and labour from a variety of sources, and working through the bureaucracy.

This news follows an announcement by communications minister Ed Vaizey that only one-third of 47 broadband project areas in England are ready to take 24Mbit/s superfast broadband to their homes and businesses.

The communications minister said the government has unlocked potential European funding of about £100m that local authorities can apply for to help fund their broadband plans.

The funding is in addition to the £630m that is already being invested by the government to meet Chancellor George Osborne's aim of ensuring the UK has the best superfast network in Europe by 2015.

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