Ex-BT CTO hits back at government over 'visionless' broadband rollout (UPDATED)

By Sooraj Shah
08 Aug 2012 View Comments
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Former CTO of BT, Peter Cochrane, has responded to the government and BT who had hit back at his claims that UK's broadband plans were "visionless", by sarcastically encouraging the government to show off its plans to fast-growing economies like China and Korea.

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The government did not take kindly to Cochrane's comments last week that it did not have a vision, mission or a plan, and responded by stating its plans to ensure 90 per cent of homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2015 were sufficient and on track.

In response, Cochrane told Computing: "Go and tell [your plans] to our industrial and commercial competitors and the people we are expecting to work with: China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, and South America."

As a parting shot, Cochrane suggested that consumers who want access to superfast broadband in the UK should move to Jersey, where residents have access to superfast fixed and mobile broadband speeds.

"If you have to stay in the UK move to Jersey!" he joked.

Meanwhile, Christine Conder, online animator of high-speed connections at the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012, criticised the government for creating an unfair playing field for alternative networks such as Vtesse and Smallworld.

Conder is a founder member of Broadband 4 Rural North (B4RN), a community effort to provide fibre to homes in the Lune Valley and Trough of Bowland in Lancashire.

She said that BT is exempt from paying certain taxes that are imposed on other companies, leaving them unable to compete with the telecoms giant.

"BT does not have to pay the Valuation Office tax that other companies have to; if companies lay fibre they have to pay tax on it per kilometre but BT does not. It does not know how much infrastructure it's got and it just has to pay a standard fee so it can lay as much fibre as it wants but other companies would be charged extra, so it is not a level playing field," she said.

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