bt logo British Telecom accused of overcharging taxpayers for broadband rollout

UK phone and broadband company British Telecom (BT) may be overcharging the taxpayer for the rollout of broadband services to rural areas, it has been revealed.

UK phone and broadband company British Telecom (BT) may be overcharging the taxpayer for the rollout of broadband services to rural areas, it has been revealed.

 
The Telegraph reports that BT is receiving a subsidy from the UK government of £1 billion, £500 million or £600 million more than it should be, due to alleged meddling with the books to make the cost appear higher than it really is.
 
The accusations come from a leaked briefing to members of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which suggests that BT is charging a mark up of up to 80 percent on the broadband expansion, with alleged “pseudo wholesale” figures used to artificially inflate costs.
 
bt logo British Telecom accused of overcharging taxpayers for broadband rollout
 
The base cost of installing a green broadband box, before so-called “group costs,” is £11,689, and yet BT is said to be charging £17,000 in rural areas, £21,858 in very rural areas, and a whopping £30,000 in extremely remote areas. 
 
The document claims that other costs were similarly inflated, sometimes by as much as five times, leaving the final bill significantly higher than the real costs involved, and ensuring BT gets more of the taxpayer's money, when only a fraction of it is actually being spent on the broadband project.
 
The chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, said she was shocked by the findings and would launch an inquiry into the issue. The National Audit Office has since been informed.
 
BT dismissed the allegations as “ludicrous.”
 
Source: The Telegraph