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Britain's broadband rollout given green light by EU

Europe

By Barry Collins

Posted on 20 Nov 2012 at 14:52

Britain's publicly funded broadband projects can finally get under way after the EU waived concerns over state aid.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is using £530 million of public money to kickstart regional broadband upgrades across the country, but the project had been stalled over fears that the scheme was breaching European rules on state aid.

Today's announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans

BT has won all the BDUK-related tenders to date, giving rise to fears that the company was effectively benefiting from a government subsidy.

However, all EU concerns have now been allayed after a "direct intervention" from culture minister Maria Miller, who lobbied European officials on a trip to Brussels last week, according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

"Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy," Miller claimed in a statement. "Superfast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity and the delay has caused frustration within government. Today's announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country."

In a statement, the European Commission said the "design of the BDUK scheme contains several 'best practices' which will help to ensure more effective, better targeted and less distortive public interventions".

The Commission added that "the UK telecommunications regulator [Ofcom] will have a crucial role in designing wholesale access prices and conditions".

The approval means projects in Wales and Surrey can begin work immediately. Cumbria, Rutland, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will get under way soon after.

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User comments

The real question is ...

How much of that £530M is still in the kitty after two years of bureaucratic faff, expensive lawyering and ministerial jollies to Brussels?

By JohnAHind on 20 Nov 2012

2p

By GlidemanUK on 20 Nov 2012

2p

By GlidemanUK on 20 Nov 2012

2p+2p=4p. slightly more than anticipated but pretty much spot on I guess ;)

By mr_chips on 20 Nov 2012

The real question is..

Will this help our rural business park get > 1Meg broadband. Unfortunately the consensus is that it will have no effect unless we live in central London.

By tirons1 on 21 Nov 2012

What has it got to do with the EU anyway?

Should have told them to but out and leave us spend our money how we choose.

By kingct on 22 Nov 2012

I Have Seen Dead Snails Move Faster

Quote from my local authority:

"We are going out to procurement in December with award of contract planned for spring. Until we reach award we do not have a timetable or plan to publish."

@JohnAHind, I agree with you about the bureaucratic faff etc. Two years of sitting on hands rather than having a plan ready to roll. Now it will be another three or four months at least before any decisions are made.

AFAIAC my local authority should just get in touch with BT and give them the money.

At this rate of progress I'll be with the big ISP in the sky before I see anything over 2Mbps where I live.

By jontym123 on 22 Nov 2012

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