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Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) - the government-funded body set up to lead the UK's Rural Broadband Programme - is seeking an improved deal from its suppliers.

Christopher Townsend, Chief Executive Officer at BDUK, told ISPreview.co.uk that "complete transparency" is being sought over the costs from the project, which is aiming to deliver fibre services to at least 90 per cent of the UK population.

Back in 2013, the rollout initiative came under fire, amid concerns over a lack of competition - given that BT emerged as the sole bidder for most projects - and high costs.

However, Mr Townsend said BDUK is continuing to work with local authorities to ensure they get good value for money from their fibre projects.

He added that, where new fibre deployments are concerned, local authorities can extend existing contracts if this is possible within the scope of procurement regulations.

But otherwise, they will need to enter into a new call-off contract from the broadband framework, or undertake a new Official Journal of the European Union procurement, Mr Townsend explained.

This is to ensure rollout projects have the necessary degree of commercial focus.

BDUK's CEO said he has "thoroughly reviewed" the body's approach to funding and project support since being appointed to the role earlier this year.

"I believe that there is much that is already in place that is good and does not need to be subject to fundamental change," he told the news provider.

"But it is important that we have the right relationships with our suppliers and that we are properly holding them to account."

Mr Townsend said this is where he is focusing a lot of his efforts at present.

"We also need to support local authorities effectively so they can get the best possible results from the investment that they are putting in," he added.

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