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New EU Delay Threatens State Aid Fuelled Broadband Rollout in Cumbria UK

Thursday, Apr 4th, 2013 (4:28 am) - Score 1,720

The huge state aid supported Connecting Cumbria project, which will see BT deploy its FTTC/P based superfast broadband ISP technologies to cover over 93% of the county by the end of 2015, is facing the risk of fresh delays due to the need for an additional layer of EU competition approval before funding can be released.

The European Commission (EC) has already granted general approval for the government’s related Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) based schemes to proceed, although according to Techweekeurope the size of Cumbria’s plan means that both it and potentially also other projects of a similar scale will need a secondary approval for “major projects”.

A Spokesperson for Cumbria Council said:

The current situation is that we would have anticipated by now to have had the necessary European approvals. As yet we haven’t got the final approval, but we do not anticipate it will affect the project end date.

The situation as it currently stands is that we don’t have a firm date for this final approval. All our submissions have been made and it is the process of being approved. It is a procedural situation, and we are awaiting the end of the procedure to make the contract live. However we are currently working on the project planning, to make sure the project is delivered on time.”

The Connecting Cumbria plan is funded by £23m of successful grants, £17.1m from BDUK, £15.4m from the EU and £30m from BT. The fact that BT was the only bidding operator may also play a part in the delay, although that didn’t stop the EC granting BDUK general approval last year.

In either case the council appears confident that its timetable will not be missed, although that still rather depends upon a speedy clearance from the EU.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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