26th November 2012

 

After much delay from the European Commission, the UK government can at last proceed with its rural broadband projects.

 

As a public subsidy is being paid, the UK government had to apply to the Commission for permission for this plan. They submitted their application for approval in January but only received authorisation this week.

 

Earlier this year, I was contacted by both Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire Councils who were concerned that the delay might affect the feasibility of projects in the South West. Since then, I have questioned the European Commission on the delay, lobbied Ministers and last week I met with the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, to discuss the proposals in detail.

 

Thankfully, now that approval has been given, Broadband Delivery UK can start rolling out the projects nationwide. £530 million has been set aside for the Rural Broadband Programme and £20 million for the Rural Community Broadband Fund. This is great news for the South West, where our digital infrastructure badly needs investment to drive our economy forward. This is good news. Just a shame it took so long to arrive.

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