EU delays rollout of Superfast Broadband in Cumbria

Several months ago Cumbroa County Council, the UK government, and BT signed a £51 million deal to bring faster broadband to Cumbria, particularly rural areas of the county.

This project, called "Connecting Cumbria," should deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps to Cumbrian homes and businesses, and is desperately needed to help businesses in general, and small businesses in particular, bring jobs to the county and help lift the local economy out of recession.

It will eventually happen, but unfortunately European Union signoff has been delayed, and the council cannot start work on the project until "Major project approval" is given.

The irony is that this is not a case of asking the EU to cough up the money: some is coming from the UK government, some from the county council, and some from BT. But under EU law the project needs an agreement from the Commission that the project is not anti-competitive before we can spend our own money on improving our own infrastructure.

Annoying as the delay is, the EU's final sign off on the project is expected shortly.

Cumbria county council officers say they have submitted plans to Brussels and answered questions about Connecting Cumbria.

“At the moment we are still confident that we can meet the deadline of supplying superfast broadband to 93 per cent of premises by the end of 2015,” a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile BT is plowing on with further enhancements to Broadband in Cumbria over and above the "Connecting Cumbria" programme, which fortunately do not need EU approval - see post to be submitted on Saturday.


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