Europe waiting for UK data as broadband ruling drags on
European officials say they will give top priority to their investigation into the UK broadband state aid in a bid to get the stalled Broadband Delivery UK projects moving, but are still waiting on information from UK officials.
Public funding for private projects needs clearance from Brussels to ensure they don’t breach single-market competition rules, but the requirement has meant several projects using the government’s £530m investment in the UK’s regions can’t move forwards.
“The assessment of BDUK is a high priority for the Commission services,” Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the Commission in charge of competition policy, told the European Parliament. “They will make every effort to finalise that assessment as soon as possible after they receive all the requested information from the UK authorities.”
We are in contact with the UK authorities on this matter, and I cannot go into further details at the moment
The delay is frustrating for councils that cannot go ahead with their rollout, even if they have the procurement plans in place.
The Commission refused to go into further details but said the investigation into the way BDUK was handling the process would form a key part of its ruling on how and when the money could be allocated.
“BDUK is under assessment by the Commission following notification by the UK authorities,” Antoine Colombani, EC spokesman for competition, told PC Pro “We are in contact with the UK authorities on this matter, and I cannot go into further details at the moment.”
According to the Commission, although the delays are frustrating, once the BDUK process is approved all projects running under its framework would get the go ahead, but it’s worth noting the only region to start building its network – North Yorkshire – got its EC approval independently.