Feeds

Brussels 'set to clear' state cash for UK broadband deployment

Loads of competition going on in rural broadband, seemingly

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Europe's competition commissioner has reportedly signalled that he will allow state investment by the UK to improve rural broadband within the next few weeks.

According to the Financial Times, only "minor changes" are required by Joaquin Almunia before the plan is granted approval from officials in Brussels. Other commissioners will also need to clear the process.

However, the European Union's vice presidential office declined to comment on the FT's report this morning when quizzed by the The Register. An EU competition spokeswoman told us:

"The Commission is in ongoing discussions with the British authorities. Once the Commission takes a decision, a press release will be issued."

Meanwhile, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has indicated that a decision was imminent by saying:

"It is our understanding that the commission is on track to issue its final decision in late October or early November, which will allow projects to get under way."

As El Reg has previously reported, the UK government is keen to get work started. The rural broadband projects are intended to improve network capacity in areas which have not so far been deemed worthwhile for private-sector investment.

However it was possible that government spending on broadband improvements could be seen as violating EU competition rules, with former national telco BT in position to receive most if not all of the cash.

We were told earlier this year by a DCMS spokesman that there would be no "spades in the ground" until Brussels approved state aid funding for the £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project.

The situation has arguably been exacerbated by the fact that so far only BT has successfully bid for funding from local authorities. Fujitsu, the other main potential contender, has struggled unsuccessfully to win any deals - a situation probably now made worse by its recent exclusion from public sector contracts by other government departments.

It's a sticky wicket for the government, held up by the Brussels probe. Culture Secretary of State Maria Miller has reiterated the words of her predecessor Jeremy Hunt by saying that she hoped that Britain would have the "best" - if not the fastest - broadband network of any country in Europe by 2015, with the plan being to fibre-up 90 per cent of the UK. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?