Government consults on lifting overhead broadband line restrictions

Proposals to lift restrictions on installing overhead broadband lines are being consulted on by ministers.

Broadband: Government plans to create "best superfast broadband network in Europe" by 2015
Broadband: Government plans to create "best superfast broadband network in Europe" by 2015
The government said the proposals are intended to reduce the cost of rolling out broadband across the country and create the "best superfast broadband network in Europe" by 2015. Currently, broadband lines must be buried underground unless there is no viable alternative.

Ministers have stressed that lines will only be installed where existing infrastructure cannot be shared. Planning permission will also still be required in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest.

But the plans have caused concern in some quarters. Tony Burton, director at charity Civic Voice, warned that the government risks alienating the public in a mistaken attempt to cut red tape.

He said: "We’re disappointed by the decision to look at lifting what we call safeguards and the government calls restrictions. We see no evidence that there are unnecessary restrictions that exist.

"No-one is questioning the benefits that broadband can bring, but we want Broadband Britain to be beautiful as well. That will only happen if we are careful about introducing the infrastructure to support it."

The consultation closes on 21 February 2012.

Consultation on relaxing the restrictions on the deployment of overhead telecommunications lines can be found here.

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