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Welsh BT ADSL Contract Under Threat
By: MarkJ - 25 August, 2006 (8:30 AM)

The European Commission is to investigate The Welsh Assembly Government over a contract awarded to BT for the upgrading of 35 exchanges in Wales, which could be considered unlawful "state aid":

The contract forms part of the 13.4m Regional Innovative Broadband Support (RIBS) initiative, which is the final stage of the Broadband Wales strategy to ensure 100 per cent broadband coverage in Wales by 2007. The complaint has been brought by WBNet Ltd, a family-run company in Monmouthshire which in 2004 began offering a 2Mbps SDSL wireless broadband service to businesses and communities across that county.

WBNet chairman Joss Goodall told Ping Wales: "Our grievance stems from the fact that in May 2005, we received clear and written assurance from the RIBS team that their project would not in any way interfere with our business."

In this letter, which has been seen by Ping Wales, a representative of the Broadband Wales unit states: "The RIBS project does not intend to fund broadband services in areas of Wales where there is already first generation (512kb-2mb) [sic] broadband provision, namely where telecommunications companies, such as yourselves, have decided to address the problem independently."

The Register covers the story in great detail and it's certainly a lot more complex than our small sample above. BT's rollout of ADSL into the areas is unlikely to be impacted and remains due for completion by September 2006.

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