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BT to support rival rural broadband schemes

The government has met with BT and local action groups to resolve the impasse which has led to a number of small rural broadband projects being stuck in limbo.

Culture secretary Maria Miller met with the telco and groups to discuss the best way to move forward on plans to bring superfast broadband to parts of the country that will not be covered by BT.

A major sticking point is that until BT carries out work in surrounding areas to these fibre black spots, it is hard to know where the gaps will be.

This has meant that the Rural Community Broadband Fund has been unable to sign off on a number of projects because it doesn’t know which areas BT will cover.

According to communications minister Ed Vaizey, publicly-funded projects are prevented by state aid rules from overbuilding other projects. reports that the meeting with MIller was described as ‘very productive’ by the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA), which represents a number of smaller ISPs.

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport said that all parties agreed to work together, along with local authorities, to ensure that projects applying for the Rural Community Broadband Fund could co-exist happily alongside the wider rural broadband scheme, being led by BT.

“The Government is clear that there is a range of options for the delivery of superfast broadband to the hardest parts to reach of the UK,” the DCMS added.

“The recently announced £250 million extra funding will ensure that superfast broadband can reach 95 per cent of premises by 2017.”


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