National Audit Office release report on the rural broadband programme

National Audit Office release report on the rural broadband programme

This morning, the National Audit Office released their anticipated report on the rural broadband programme. It is available here.

The report set out the following recommendations:

  • DCMS should review all the reasons for the delay in roll-out to date and guard against further slippage
  • DCMS should seek greater assurance that BT’s bid prices are reasonable and do not contain excessive contingency
  • DCMS should implement the procedures it is developing to thoroughly monitor in-life contract costs, placing additional emphasis on ensuring staff expertise
  • DCMS should consider evidence on take-up rates outside of the programme and discuss with BT whether its modelling assumptions are still valid

NAO head Amyas Morse is quoted as saying “the rural broadband project is moving forward late and without the benefit of strong competition to protect public value. For this we will have to rely on the Department’s active use of the controls it has negotiated and strong supervision by Ofcom.”

The Public Accounts Committee, lead by Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, is expected to hold a session on this issue later this month. They have issued a press release here.

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