In the latest article on its opinion website Entanet points to the growing tide of opinion that BT Retail is gaining a commercial advantage as a result of BT winning multiple contracts to supply rural areas with superfast broadband under the BDUK scheme.
Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations at Entanet says in the piece that there has always been and continues to be “speculation and wonder” within the industry at the commercial advantage that BT Retail is gaining as a result of BT becoming the apparent default choice for the BDUK contracts.
He also notes that, even though Ofcom does not seem to be worried about the situation, some observers have even speculated that the financial gains from the BDUK business is somehow enabling BT to gain an advantage for its own-branded broadband offerings. “They may say that, we couldn’t possibly comment”, says Watson in the article.
Elsewhere in the piece, he states: “It’s interesting to note the strengthening tide of negative opinion and both cynicism and criticism relating to the scheme and especially toward BT, which has clearly become the main commercial benefactor of the roll-out. We’ve wondered for a while how long it would be before these feelings would start bubbling to the surface. On the face of it, it does look like BT is profiting from the use of public money.”
Criticism has been aimed at BT for the £430 million it will gain from £230 million worth of contributions from the local authority contracts it has gained so far, and reduction in BT’s own commitment of £200 million, which has been agreed by the government. If BT wins all the BDUK contracts, it stands to gain around £1.2 billion.
The opinion piece was triggered by an article on ISPreview about the criticisms of the government and BT made by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its report on the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.