BT Shamefully Bumping Up its Rural Broadband Costs to Profit From Subsidies?

By Gary Cutlack on at

A rather shocking leaked document from next-gen broadband delivery agency BDUK claims BT's been fiddling the figures, with the national network needlessly boosting its fibre installation costs to help grab bigger subsidies.

The outrageous claim comes from a briefing, supposedly compiled by government sources, which suggest BT is adding anything up to a huge 80 per cent mark-up to the amount it actually costs to hook rural exchanges up to next-gen fibre networks, which means it's asking for artificially large handouts from the government to help link up remote communities.

According to "experts" quoted by the Telegraph, BT could be given between £400m and £500m less in subsidies and would still be able to build the same fibre network, with the cost savings passed on to locals who are indirectly paying BT's inflated connection costs through higher taxes.

One quoted example claims BT has to pay £11,689 to install a fibre broadband cabinet before costs. However, BT is allegedly charging £17,000 to do this in rural areas, £21,858 in more remote spots and a vast £30,000 in the most rural parts of the country. Labour costs quoted by BT also spiralled, with the network charging anywhere between £1,855 and £10,635 for installation in rural spots.

The government's National Audit Office has been passed the documents and may be investigating the case. [Telegraph via The Register]

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