The UK government has come under fire from vendors, pressure groups and analysts for failing to develop a coherent national strategy to roll out broadband.
The Countryside Alliance and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have spoken out about a "widening digital divide" in geographical terms.
A spokesman for the FSB accused some regional development agencies of doing nothing to back broadband, and that regional businesses are suffering as a result.
"There is a lack of continuity cross regional development agencies. Some are doing a lot, some nothing," he said.
"The government has got to set them clear guidelines and strategies or be prepared to take back responsibility to central government. Some areas of the country will also need subsidies."
BT has also called for more local initiatives but, given its own conservative attitude to non-urban broadband, analysts have questioned the right of the telco to make such criticisms.
BT largely shuns non-ADSL technologies and demands upfront guarantees and subsidies before upgrading exchanges.
But the analysts maintain that BT has a point when it argues that the government has little hope of reaching its target of connecting all schools, GP surgeries and courts with broadband by 2006, especially in rural areas, unless time scales for implementing public/private broadband initiatives are speeded up.
"Government efforts have been too slow," said Trish Jones, director for regional broadband partnerships at BT.
"We are seeing a glimmer of light but the industry as a whole is strapped for cash. If the government is to meet its targets, it can't take so long to deliver its strategies."
Analysts agree that the lack of a coherent strategy is behind many of the problems. But they warn that the answer is more complex than throwing taxpayers' money into BT's ADSL technology.
Additional methods of delivering broadband, including fixed wireless, in which BT has decided not to invest, have to be made commercially viable.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group is continuing to urge local organisations to consider a range of services, from cable and satellite to fixed wireless, to find the one that best suits their needs.
David Brown, an analyst with Schema, said: "There are currently a lot of activities to stimulate broadband on a local level but these are uncoordinated.
"While BT has a role to play, there are other technologies that could be more suitable for broadband in rural areas."
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