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The government's £530 million broadband fund could easily be wasted, unless the major broadband providers are willing to operate in rural areas, it has been claimed.

Speaking to the Guardian, Piers Daniell, Managing Director of Fluidata, said that without support from the likes of BT, TalkTalk and Sky, many council-built broadband networks could prove expensive failures.

Broadband Delivery UK has distributed £530 million in public funding among councils across the UK, in a bid to ensure every community has access to 2Mb broadband by 2012.

The government also wants to see 90 per cent of the population have access to super-fast 25Mb downloads by 2015.

But Mr Daniell claimed that council-operated broadband initiatives are already running into difficulties.

He cited the example of the Digital Region scheme in South Yorkshire, which has seen five councils team up to construct a super-fast broadband network across Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley.

Despite £90 million of public money being invested in the scheme, consumer take-up has been "very low".

As such, there is now talk of the network being used exclusively by businesses and public sector organisations, rather than households in the region.

Mr Daniell said that poor marketing and a limited choice of broadband providers is to blame for the apparent lack of interest in super-fast internet services.

"The bigger broadband providers are key to driving uptake in the regions because they have the brands people are familiar with," he added.

"They have big marketing budgets and additional services like television and phone calls."

Mr Daniell warned that, with broadband providers forced to pay significant sums to link into small regional networks, they are more likely to simply rely on BT Wholesale services.

So in areas where BT's network does not extend – such as the rural communities the government is looking to support – many broadband providers will still have no presence.

"Local authorities need more support in building networks that can be sold," Mr Daniell told the news provider.

"It's easier if we have got communication with the people building these networks while they are building them, rather than trying to fix them afterwards."

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