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BT laments lack of cash for rural broadband

Telecoms giant BT has claimed more funding is required if high quality broadband is to reach rural areas in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.

According to the firm’s managing director for Next Generation Access Bill Murphy, the government needs to inject more cash into its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) access programme.

The government, alongside local authorities and the EU, has already invested £1.7 billion in improving Internet coverage and speeds while enlisting the private sector to invest and carry out engineering works.

BDUK aims to provide 95 per cent of the UK with access to superfast broadband by 2017 but though progress has been made, there still seems to be a divide between urban and rural areas.

There are also concerns that the “final 5 per cent” will be left behind in what MPs in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset are calling “digital darkness.”

BT's Murphy told the local press that his firm’s investment in delivering broadband to more rural areas is a “risky” business and it may take around 20 years to see a return on investment (ROI).

The MD believes that a 99 per cent target is achievable and satellite technology could be deployed to the remaining 1 per cent if government and other companies become “completely committed.”

Murphy claimed that BT is well on track to meet the industry target to provide 90 per cent coverage by December, while the 2017 95 per cent target is a challenge the company has said it is “going for.”

He added that the biggest threat to the firm hitting its targets is not having enough money.