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UK accuses EU of holding up superfast broadband

The UK government has accused the European Commission of holding up the rollout of superfast broadband in the country over concerns that there is not enough competition in the market.

The UK has been trying to get state aid to build infrastructure for superfast broadband but as BT pretty much seems to be the only company willing to carry out the work, getting plans past the Commission’s competition authorities has been difficult.

The Department of Culture,Media and Sport (DCMS) told tech publication The Register that getting fast broadband rolled out in cities was challenging as it was difficult to meet EU requirement  “without creating unhelpful delays to delivery”.

Credit: Daniel Antan

A spokesman for the DCMS told the website:  “At a recent meeting with the EU Commission it was made clear that a workable State Aid approval for infrastructure would require an investigation of between 7 and 18 months. On this timescale, and with uncertainty over the eventual decision, cities would find it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to deliver completed infrastructure elements of their plans by 2015.”

Broadband minister Ed Vaizey said last year that the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project was being held up by competition officials in Brussels.

An EU competition spokeswoman told the Register that the Commission has prioritised the matter but claimed that the problem was the UK had failed to provide enough information in order for it to make a proper assessment of the situation. The main problem or the project has been down to Fujitsu pulling out of running for any contract BDUK was offering.

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