Westminster Council gives Government broadband plans thumbs down

Broadband resize

Westminster City Council has hit out at Government plans to allow comms providers to build out broadband networks without seeking permission from local councils first.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced proposals on Friday to speed up the roll out of superfast broadband on private land and in public areas.

Under the new plans, broadband cables and street cabinets could be installed, except on Sites of Special Scientific Interest, without the permission of local councils.

The Government justified the move by claiming the deployment of superfast broadband is being held up by bureaucracy and red tape.

However, Councillor Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council, has taken issue with the plans and aired concerns about the impact it could have on the local area.

It is more important that councils work in partnership with broadband companies.

"We are concerned the ability of local people to oppose commercial broadband boxes, of which some can be large eyesores, will be diluted by these proposals," said Roe in a statement to IT Pro.

"It is more important that councils work in partnership with broadband companies to locate infrastructure sensibly."

Roe also questioned whether further Government intervention on the broadband issue is really needed.

"It will only result in a gradual and prolonged development [of networks] across the UK, rather than the big bang in broadband that the UK needs," said Roe.

"Under the existing rules, council's such as Westminster are already leading a revolution in high-speed broadband, helping businesses connect."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.