EC approves BDUK Plan: End Date Slips to 2017

by admin on November 22, 2012

The deadline for Britain’s national next generation broadband service has slipped to 2017.

This emerged the day after the European Commission agreed to approve the government’s controversial £1.5bn procurement plan after nearly nine months of argument.

Asked to clarify the amount at stake, a commission spokesman said, “In the notification we received from the UK, the £1.5 bn (is) planned for the period until 2017.”

The previous Labour government had set a 2013 target for a universal 2Mbps service. The coalition soon changed that to “the best broadband network in Europe by 2015”.

The deal negotiated by culture secretary Maria Miller a couple of weeks ago leaves Britain targeting a minimum 2Mbps universal service, with 90% of people having access to a 24Mbps service.

On the same day that it announced its approval for the BDUK scheme, the commission approved a €2bn (£1.6bn) scheme to support rural areas in Bavaria, Germany. This plans a minimum 50Mbps network for “commercial and accumulation areas”.

Neither DCMS, the government’s responsible department, nor the commission were prepared to give details of where the UK’s £1.5bn is coming from. The official statement says the amount is £530m.

Pressed on this, the DCMS said the £1bn balance will be met by local authorities. It is unclear whether it includes £150m each for the Superconnected Cities initiative and the extension of mobile broadband to rural areas. However the commission said “EU funds” were part of the package.

Extracted from (and more at):

What does this mean for the Goudhurst scheme?  Not exactly sure yet – but overall it is good news as this was the negotiation that was blocking our scheme moving forwards – and the issues seem to now be resolved.  We are meeting KCC soon and will  update readers when we know more.  We are still hoping to get our local plan approved by BDUK (through KCC) so that we can start implementing the first phase in the first quarter of 2013.  Fingers crossed!

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