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UPD3 Pinsent Masons to Advise UK Government on Superfast Broadband Rollout

Posted: 18th Jul, 2011 By: MarkJ
UK DCMS internet copyrightpinsent masons law firmThe international law firm Pinsent Masons has been appointed as the sole legal adviser to the UK governments Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its project to help 90% of "people in each local authority area" gain access to a superfast broadband (25Mbps+) service by 2015.

Pinsent Masons, which will take responsibility for advising the UK governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office and its associated £530m budget until 2015 (could rise to £830m by 2017), was apparently appointed at the beginning of May 2011. The firm are already "major" providers of legal services to the public sector and were picked from a candidate group of 15 potential suitors.

Simon Colvin, Partner at Pinsent Masons, said:

"We are delighted to be working on such an important project for the UK; our cross-practice team will be required to support both central and local government. Working for the public sector is an important priority for Pinsent Masons and helping to deliver this project will provide us with a significant opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to Government and to transforming broadband in the UK."

The Lawyer reports that this move is a necessary part of the UK governments recently announced £2bn +vat tender for a new national superfast broadband framework agreement (full details), which will involve the allocation of state aid and must therefore conform to related EU rules.

UPDATE 3:48pm

Several eagle eyed readers have noted that Pinsent Masons have a number of past relations with BT, which could raise concerns about a conflict of interest.

UPDATE 19th July 2011

Added a comment sent to us by Pinsent Masons via their official press release.

UPDATE 20th July 2011

Responding to some of the conflict of interest concerns, a spokeswoman for Pinsent told ISPreview.co.uk, "There is no conflict as we are not on the panel for BT and haven't been for some time."
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