Rural access to broadband solutions is something of a hot topic regardless of the country of focus. While the FCC (News - Alert) in the U.S. continues to address the build-out requirements, rural citizens in the U.K. may soon be in luck. It seems the European Commission has confirmed nearly $850 million in aid from the state for the deployment of broadband.
A few challenges have appeared out of Brussels, however, according to this report in the U.K. Register, Maria Miller, chief of broadband policy in the U.K., made a quick trip to Brussels to win final approval. Miller was able to win Brussels’ approval, but not without a few concessions. For one, an evaluation of the project must be completed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and submitted to Brussels’ competition officials prior the end of March, 2015.
According to competition commission, Joaquin Almunia, the Broadband Delivery U.K. (BDUK) will provide assistance to local granting authorities as a national competence center, focused on the design and implementation of successful broadband solutions in line with the rules and guidelines from EU competition. It is believed that this latest effort will help the region come closer to its EU Digital Agenda targets, expected to enable significant growth in the U.K.
Overall, the BDUK plan for broadband solutions includes a variety of best practices expected to lead to the execution of more effective and better targeted solutions will less distortive public interventions. Smaller local authorities will be able to turn to the national competence center for guidelines on how best to move forward with applications for securing broadband funding.
Nationwide schemes for broadband solutions are encouraged by the Commission to ensure the consistency of all smaller projects and to avoid any potential delays in high speed access implementation by reducing administrative burdens for local authorities. While watchdogs and monitoring bodies are in place, BT (News - Alert) has been named the only preferred provider to date.
Approval from Brussels is an important step forward for broadband solutions in the U.K., a decision that has been long in coming. It will also mean a significant enhancement for the British economy as high speed broadband is essential for the creation of jobs, growth and prosperity. Delays in execution have caused frustration with the government, a trend expected to change now that final approval has been secured.
While plans include pushing broadband solutions out to 90 percent of homes and businesses at the end of 2015, it is estimated that there are currently 7.5 million British taxpayers currently not online. While some may prefer face-to-face interactions, others may not have access to the financial resources necessary to afford a broadband connection. For those who can, this latest move will put them one step closer.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman