The struggle to bring high-speed broadband to remote parts of Somerset – Exmoor is a good case in point – has been slowed down by last week’s surprise decision of the partner councils to reject BT’s bid to do the work. Tens of millions of pounds of public money are at stake, but BT is the only viable bidder this far. So what went wrong? The official story is that CDS (Connecting Devon and Somerset) didn’t reckon BT was offering a fair deal. BT reject this interpretation. CDS itself is being blamed by some. In my new role as chairman of the All Party Group for Rural Broadband I want to get to the bottom of this unexpected problem. Last night I was able to talk direct to Ed Vaizey, the Cabinet Minister responsible for new broadband schemes. His officials are already looking into what happened and why. I intend to get answers and will do all in my power to help put the programme back on track.
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