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Worcestershire UK Council Vents Anger at EU for Broadband Rollout Delay

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2012 (8:58 am) - Score 491

The Worcestershire County Council (WCC) in England warns that a “gross miscalculation” has been made over the time it would take to get final approval from Europe to proceed with its planned superfast broadband roll-out, which is delaying the project that was supposed to proceed in June 2012.

The Worcestershire Local Broadband Plan (LBP), which has been allocated £3.35 million by the governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office (this must be match-funded by the private sector and local authority), aims to make superfast broadband ISP download speeds of 30Mbps+ (Megabits per second) available to 90% of the county by 2015.

But like many similar projects around the UK their work is currently being held up by commercial and competition concerns from the European Commission (EC), which is perhaps understandably worried about the limited choice of only two major telecoms operators (BT and Fujitsu) in the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework; among other things (full details). So far only BT seems to be winning the contracts.

WCC Chairman, Ken Pollock, said (Worcestershire News):

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.”

West Worcestershire MP, Harriett Baldwin, added:

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.”

The government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) claims to have provided the EC with “all the information it has asked for” and remains hopeful of a “positive decision shortly“, which could potentially force the DCMS to update its BDUK framework and require some additional adjustment to various regional LBP’s. Suffice to say that this is about many more counties than Worcestershire alone, although each will be given an individual review.

Worcestershire’s Local Broadband Plan (PDF)

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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