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BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson has hit back at criticism of his company, regarding the provision of fibre broadband in remote communities.

Speaking to Management Today, he claimed the telecoms giant is justified in charging customers in isolated areas for their fibre broadband connections, rather than funding universal coverage across the UK.

Under current plans, around 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses will have access to a fibre broadband network by 2017 - either through a commercial rollout or publicly-subsidised deployment.

Fibre will be available in all the major towns and cities, and many villages too, but homes and businesses in the 'final mile' could be left without super-fast broadband.

That is, unless they commission BT to install a connection to the nearest street cabinet - and pay for the necessary infrastructure work.

Mr Patterson dismissed suggestions of unfairness, pointing to the commercial investment his company has made off its own back in the last half-decade.

"Remember, this company took a bet of £2.5 billion to invest in fibre in 2009," he told the news provider.

Mr Patterson claimed his firm was not encouraged by the government to undertake this major infrastructure project, but proceeded anyway.

"We were about to enter a significant recession," he stated.

"Show me another infrastructure project of that scale over that period. There wasn't one."

Mr Patterson noted that the telecoms firm is "not a charity" and it needs to look after the interests of its shareholders.

This means it cannot realistically connect every UK home and business to its fibre broadband network - the costs involved are simply too high.


Management Today

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