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Europe Blasts UK Government for False Broadband Funding Delay Jibes

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 (7:40 am) - Score 811

Europe’s competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, has publicly criticised the UK government’s Culture Secretary, Maria Miller MP, after she blamed the European Commission for holding up the release of State Aid funding and thus delaying the country’s national roll-out of superfast broadband (25Mbps+) services.

The EC finally approved the UK’s use of State Aid last week but it didn’t take long for Maria Miller to seek a political boost by suggesting that she had saved “the rural broadband programme out from under stifling EU bureaucracy“.

Meanwhile long-term observes of the process will be only too aware that the UK government must share in the blame for the delay, while Millers recent lobbying trip to Brussels will have done little to change the timetable because preliminary approval had already been confirmed during October 2012. Joaquín Almunia separately confirmed that her trip made no difference.

Joaquín Almunia said (Financial Times):

Brussels bureaucrats worked faster than their London colleague. Politicians on both sides of the Channel must avoid red tape, but the real origin of the delays … should also be made clear.

We asked the UK government last February to supply the necessary information to us and only received a complete answer in October.”

The FT article also carries a somewhat bizarre comment from one of Millers aides, whom casually redirected the criticism by randomly and vaguely suggesting that “some of her male counterparts” would not have been able to do as well as her. Meanwhile the related local procurement processes, which were originally supposed to be completed by the end of 2012, have already had their deadline for completion put back to July 2013 (6 month delay).

In any case the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office can now get back to helping 90% of UK people gain access to a superfast broadband (25Mbps+) service by spring 2015, while the bigger competition concerns with the process look set to be swept under the carpet (e.g. BT being the only viable bidder).. for now.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Tit for tat . . .

  2. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

  3. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Maybe Mr Almunia did take some notice after all 🙂


    The total incompetence of Maria Miller has just been proven along with BDUK org. Surely her underlings should have informed her of the timeline for approval from Brussel’s or even the BDUK team?

    Maria Miller should find out why she was not kept in the loop and instead stabbed in the back by her so called colleagues.

    Should state aid be given to a single private for profit company? or should it instead be invested in a publicly owned national fiber network?

    Which ever way you look at it, the country needs to invest 20B to really put a future proof network in place.

  4. Avatar PhilT says:

    I don’t understand how we allowed ourselves to get to the point of having to ask a Belgocrat for permission to spend our own money in our own country.

    I understand why we have state aid rules, but what other laws require you to ask for permission first ? Why can’t a sovereign state get on and act within the law, and be held accountable if they break it, rather having to ask Sir first.

    1. Avatar zemadeiran says:

      When said state is part of a larger economic union and bound by it’s competition rules which in this case point out said states massive failure in making sure there is sufficient competition.

  5. Avatar jo says:

    what does this poxy government know all they know is taxing this and that anything else they know jack ass

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