Culture secretary Maria Miller revealed today that the reason the promised super fast broadband hasn’t reached some of Britain’s most rural areas in the past year, is because of European delays placed on funding.
While the request was put in for £530 million in state aid in the early months of this year, it’s taken ten months to get a response. Apparently it was only when a sense of urgency was applied to a follow up request that it was finally granted.
“The problems we encountered were the bureaucracy of the commission,” said Miller (via the Telegraph). “It was not responding quick enough to what Britain needed. Talking to the commissioner direct was – I’m not sure I’d say banging heads together – but it was about saying enough is enough. We need to get on with a vital project rather than continuing an academic discussion about the programmes we’re putting together.”
State aid requests have to go through the EU, as they are designed to help prevent governments favouring monopolising or anti-competitive businesses. There was some worry with this one that BT was being favoured, since in many regions the only bid received for the project was from that company. However evidently that turned out not to be too much of a factor, since the approval did eventually go through.
It’s now hoped that the work can begin and it won’t be too long before some of the more hard to reach areas in the country will receive speeds as high as 20Mbps. Those areas that still aren’t covered by this scheme, are expected to be able to take advantage of new 4G or relocated 3G services once the former begins fully rolling out next year, with the introduction of networks from providers other than Everything Everywhere.
KitGuru Says: One more argument for the isolationists. At least if Europe is going to be involved in something like broadband, it need to respond swiftly.