HARD-UP Brits face a £600 million bill so BT can roll out broadband to remote rural homes, it emerged yesterday.
Ministers were last night facing a backlash as the details of a proposed deal with the telecoms giant emerged.
Under the plans BT would have five years to connect the last one million “forgotten” homes in the UK without an internet dial-up in the UK.
But critically they will be able to recoup the cost through their wholesale business – despite trousering almost £2billion in public subsidies in recent years and shelling out a fortune for sporting TV rights.
Rivals said the scheme could add £20 to the broadband package of every household in the country.
Digital Minister Matt Hancock admitted: “It’s likely that it’ll be paid for through every broadband bill.”
Ministers had been due to make it law for every household in Britain to have the right to demand a minimum 10MBps broadband connection.
Instead the Government launched consultation today on BT’s voluntary offer.
Mr Hancock said that given the “pressures on public funding” costs should now be borne by industry.
In the document, Mr Hancock said: “We welcome this proposal, which we are carefully considering, as it has the potential to deliver better connections to people more quickly than under a regulatory route.
“We will work with BT to develop its proposal over the coming months.”
He insisted that a final decision had not been made and the Government would hold BT’s “feet to the fire” to make sure they deliver – after a litany of delays and problems with broadband roll out so far.
Mr Hancock added: “We are determined to ensure no-one is left behind, and that all the nations of the UK can enjoy the benefits of fast, reliable broadband.”