Superfast broadband held up by EU red tape

Worcester News: Superfast broadband held up by EU red tape Superfast broadband held up by EU red tape

MILLIONS of pounds of broadband improvements in rural Worcestershire are at risk of being delayed due to a farcical EU wrangle.

In May, County Hall won approval for £3.5 million from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a state body that funds quicker web access, mainly in rural areas.

But it cannnot be spent because BDUK has not secured approval from the European Commission’s Directorate General, an EU rubber-stamping body.

The EU has concerns that BDUK is not competitive because only two companies, BT and Futijsu, have signed up as suppliers.

BDUK has £530 million to use nationwide which can not be spent until the problem is resolved.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the environment and economy scrutiny panel at County Hall.

Chairman Councillor Ken Pollock said: “There’s been a gross underestimation of the time it will take to get this funding. We are talking hundreds of millions which has been allocated under BDUK, but it hasn’t been approved.

“An awful lot of excitement has been generated among parishioners in rural parts of Worcestershire, but there’s been a gross miscalculation.”

The Government was originally hoping for the scheme to go ahead in June.

Coun Emma Moffett said: “It’s so frustrating. We’ve got the tools, but aren’t being given the machinery to take it forward – with parliament going into recess now is the perfect time to pressure our MPs.”

Worcestershire County Council wants 90 per cent of properties to have superfast web speeds, seen as 30 megabits per second, by 2015.

After the meeting, Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “I’m very sympathetic and share their frustrations, we’ll do everything we can to find a solution.”

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I see no reason why European rules should stop Worcestershire from putting the job out to tender and I have contacted the secretary of state’s office to confirm that in writing.”

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “We have provided the commission with all the information it has asked for and hope it will give a positive decision shortly.”

Comments (7)

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11:29am Mon 16 Jul 12

daned says...

This is not surprising. The EU is run by a bunch of unelected nobodies who have the power to overrule national elected governments.

As far as getting agreement is concerned it is taking the EU eight years to produce new regulations on food labelling, so just be patient.
This is not surprising. The EU is run by a bunch of unelected nobodies who have the power to overrule national elected governments. As far as getting agreement is concerned it is taking the EU eight years to produce new regulations on food labelling, so just be patient. daned

12:00pm Mon 16 Jul 12

Lew Smoralz says...

The EUSSR is blighting all of us. What is a trading union doing interfering in Worcestershire broadband?

We were promised it was only a trading union when we voted to join, and I know that our politicians would not lie to us.
The EUSSR is blighting all of us. What is a trading union doing interfering in Worcestershire broadband? We were promised it was only a trading union when we voted to join, and I know that our politicians would not lie to us. Lew Smoralz

12:32pm Mon 16 Jul 12

Stevie-P says...

It is another example of stupid Red Tape from the Idiots of Europe. We should just forge ahead and face the consequences later. Broadband now is no longer a luxury for people, it is as essential as Gas, Electric, and Water. My sister lives out in the country in Alfrick, she runs her own business and she has a connection of 0.5MB Max Down/UP "No that is not a typo" just about quick enough to Email but not enough to surf the WWW or run her business, yes she made a choice to live out there but really in this day and age that kind of speed is totally unacceptable no matter where you live. It does not matter which ISP she chooses to be with they are all the same speed for her area.

I on the other hand live in Droitwich and my speed is 62MB/18MB down and up, fast efficient and totally usable. Funny thing is I only pay a few £'s more for my speed than she does!!

I say lets stick up a finger to Brussels and their directives and get things back to basics in this Country and try and put the Great back into Britain. Rant over :)
It is another example of stupid Red Tape from the Idiots of Europe. We should just forge ahead and face the consequences later. Broadband now is no longer a luxury for people, it is as essential as Gas, Electric, and Water. My sister lives out in the country in Alfrick, she runs her own business and she has a connection of 0.5MB Max Down/UP "No that is not a typo" just about quick enough to Email but not enough to surf the WWW or run her business, yes she made a choice to live out there but really in this day and age that kind of speed is totally unacceptable no matter where you live. It does not matter which ISP she chooses to be with they are all the same speed for her area. I on the other hand live in Droitwich and my speed is 62MB/18MB down and up, fast efficient and totally usable. Funny thing is I only pay a few £'s more for my speed than she does!! I say lets stick up a finger to Brussels and their directives and get things back to basics in this Country and try and put the Great back into Britain. Rant over :) Stevie-P

1:38pm Mon 16 Jul 12

daned says...

Stevie

Keep ranting, especially to your MP.
Stevie Keep ranting, especially to your MP. daned

1:42pm Mon 16 Jul 12

wr5resident2 says...

Let's stop the EU interfering in such issues now!!!
Let's stop the EU interfering in such issues now!!! wr5resident2

10:29pm Mon 16 Jul 12

Matthew Jenkins says...

From looking into this story it appears that actually it is the EU that is on our side!!

The main issue is that BT is not prepared to give companies wishing to rent its fibre or infrastructure sufficiently open access. Brussels wants rival companies such as TalkTalk and Sky to be able to rent BT's "dark" fibre and install their own electronic equipment to "light" it, as they do with copper broadband.

Brussels may also want less restricted access for companies to lay their own cables along BT's ducts and telegraph poles.

The EU is being pro-competition. If BT is the only option, which it is as Fujitsu appear to have pulled out of the scheme, then they're going to charge as much as they can get away with and take as long as they please to install it.

Other companies that tried to bid for BDUK funding have all pulled out, with complaints about the complex process of applying for money from the government.

So, it is beginning to sound more like a tale of poor implementation by our government, rather than the usual anti-EU story.
From looking into this story it appears that actually it is the EU that is on our side!! The main issue is that BT is not prepared to give companies wishing to rent its fibre or infrastructure sufficiently open access. Brussels wants rival companies such as TalkTalk and Sky to be able to rent BT's "dark" fibre and install their own electronic equipment to "light" it, as they do with copper broadband. Brussels may also want less restricted access for companies to lay their own cables along BT's ducts and telegraph poles. The EU is being pro-competition. If BT is the only option, which it is as Fujitsu appear to have pulled out of the scheme, then they're going to charge as much as they can get away with and take as long as they please to install it. Other companies that tried to bid for BDUK funding have all pulled out, with complaints about the complex process of applying for money from the government. So, it is beginning to sound more like a tale of poor implementation by our government, rather than the usual anti-EU story. Matthew Jenkins

11:55am Wed 18 Jul 12

johnstjohn says...

I am very much in favour of UK being part of the EEC but the non elected and uncontrolled interference by the Brussels dictatorship will kill off the whole concept if they they continue to behave so negatively.
The Post Office was a monopoly providing the telephone system. BT took over this and it is only fairly recently that competition became possible. If only two organisations signed up and now one has dropped out I cannot see that there is any complaint for lack of competition.
I am very much in favour of UK being part of the EEC but the non elected and uncontrolled interference by the Brussels dictatorship will kill off the whole concept if they they continue to behave so negatively. The Post Office was a monopoly providing the telephone system. BT took over this and it is only fairly recently that competition became possible. If only two organisations signed up and now one has dropped out I cannot see that there is any complaint for lack of competition. johnstjohn
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