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Wireless networks excluded from govt broadband maps?
Fast wireless broadband services may not feature on official broadband coverage maps.Hundreds of millions of pounds could be spent on duplicating high-speed broadband infrastructure due to a lack of information about the availability of wireless internet services, a freedom of information request has revealed.
Responding to the request from Ian Grant of Br0kenTeleph0n3, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) indicated that its coverage maps - compiled using information from BT, Virgin Media, KCom and Ordnance Survey - do not offer an accurate reflection of fast broadband availability across the country.
According to Br0kenTeleph0n3, the maps appear to only reflect fixed-line broadband access, excluding the "scores" of high-speed wireless broadband operators that already offer services to thousands of customers.
As the official BDUK procurement rules exclude telecoms firms with turnover of less than £20 million per year, all of the country's wireless network operators - plus several medium-sized fixed operators - are technically "invisible", the tech news site explained.
Consequently, it warned the market has been skewed in favour of a large wired broadband network, despite the fact that ministers, officials and providers have regularly cited the need for a mix of technologies to meet the government's aim of delivering the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport went on to insist BDUK's coverage maps are not identical to similar charts drawn up by Ofcom.
"There is a significant difference in timing," the department said. "The BDUK analysis is designed to look ahead, while the Ofcom analysis looks at the current position.
"As an example, in Northern Ireland the super-fast availability results were similar, but in Cornwall they were very different because at the time of the Ofcom map BT had announced major upgrades for Cornwall but had not carried them out."
This is the latest criticism of potential waste from BDUK, coming shortly after Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose revealed that more than £1 million will be spent on legal costs.