The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) scheme has revealed that it has been unable to come to an agreement with BT regarding the provision of superfast residential and business broadband in a number of areas.
BT and CDS met for a number of weeks to work out how the current scheme and provision could be extended; however, CDS has now announced that it has been unable to come to an agreement with BT that would provide value for money and that talks have been terminated. The project would have ensured that the counties would have had 95% coverage of superfast broadband by 2017 but CDS added that BT would not have been able to meet this target and there would have been risks in going ahead with the project.
The tender process is to begin again and the failure of the talks with BT has been described as a “huge disappointment” by David Hall, a cabinet member at Somerset County Council. Mr Hall has accused BT of letting the councils down in addition to letting CDS down, and has described BT’s tender for this next phase of the project as “just not up to scratch”.
Mr Hall has confirmed that the council is determined to ensure that the provision of superfast residential and business broadband provides value for money’
BT has said that the earlier stages of the project remain on target and that the company is still willing to work with the councils to find a solution.