A GROUP campaigning for better broadband in south Shropshire has welcomed the appointment of a new head of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Chris Townsend, formerly of the team that staged the Olympics, is to head BDUK.

There is also more information on the £10m Broadband Innovation Fund that was announced in December, which will be open for applications from March 17.

“A new broom is exactly what BDUK needs,” said Patrick Cosgrove of the Marches and Shropshire Campaign for Better Broadband in Rural Areas,

“Although linking the new appointment to the £10m fund rather than the £250m Superfast Extension Programme only helps confirm suspicions we've voiced in the past that the latter is destined for BT without any element of competition.

With competition, £250m could go a very long way. £10m will only scratch the surface.

“In spite of these reservations, our campaign must respond to the government's call for local authorities and alternative providers to come forward and bid into the £10m pot.”

He said the group had suggested to Shropshire Council that they creaste a cross county partnership with town and parish councils to pool local knowledge and resources to work with Government money.

They group is waiting for a response.

“We therefore urge Shropshire Council to appreciate the strength that lies with the 38 parish/town councils that have pledged support to our campaign* and to work with them to bid into the £10m innovation fund,” added patrick Cosgrove in the group’s regular newsletter.