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BT comes under fire for lacklustre broadband rollout

BT’s deal with the UK government to rollout broadband across the country isn’t moving as fast as the two organisations originally planned. Millions are still without any Internet connection, and the places Openreach has landed offer slower speeds that originally advertised.

Part of this has to do with lowered expectations from the Conservatives. Labour raised the issue in Parliament earlier this week and the shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant plans to fight for cutbacks to the deal with BT.

The original goal was to have 95 per cent of the UK powered by 2015, but that date has been pushed back to 2017. Even with the two year delay, BT expects it will be 2018 before the entire rollout reaches 95 per cent, and even longer before every single citizen has broadband availability.

Bryant also welcomes the Ofcom investigation into a monopoly on government contracts. BT managed to secure 44 out of the 44 available contracts throughout the UK, even though Virgin Media, Talktalk and Sky all offer high-tier broadband.

The Openreach service might be taken down a peg, especially with Prime Minister David Cameron airing his frustration at the speed of rollout. BT has also missed speeds of at least 5 Mbps or 24 Mbps, with a lot of new Openreach customers claiming to have under 2 Mbps on a usual day.

In the last five years, the UK has spent over £3 billion on broadband expansion projects. Most of that money has been fueled into BT, but the results from the telecom giant have been less than impressive.

Considering the necessity of Internet in our lives, the rollout is a massive failure and drags the UK down. In other European countries like Finland, Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary and Czech Republic, we see faster average speeds; lower average costs and more dense rollout of broadband.

The United Kingdom is the fifth largest economy, it shouldn’t be this far behind other European countries when it comes to Internet adoption.