UK rural broadband deployment targets pushed back nearly two years

Despite receiving hundreds of millions of pounds in government subsidies, the effort to bring high-speed internet to rural parts of the UK seems to be running seriously behind schedule. The National Audit Office (NAO) says the original goal of providing 90 percent of Brits with access to at least a 25Mbps connection by May 2015 will likely be pushed back to the end of 2016 -- and at a cost that's £207 million ($312 million) more than first anticipated. A big part of the problem, according to the NAO, is a lack of competition among those bidding to help with the project. BT has already been awarded more than half of the local contracts and no other company is in the running to scoop up what's left. As well as slowing things down, this effective monopoly may also be adding to the financial pain; whereas before the government expected BT to foot 36 percent of the bill, that's now dropped to just 23 percent. Microsoft's whitespace idea could avoid all these issues, but in terms of schedules it seems just as remote.

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UK watchdog warns of rural broadband delay, blames BT monopoly