Back in 2011, BDUK allocated a share of the government’s £530 million Rural Broadband Fund to Connecting Devon and Somerset, part of which should be used to provide a (paltry, wholly inadequate!) minimum of 2Mb broadband to all and 24Mb plus Superfast Broadband to 85% of premises.
However, concerns over the tender process for council projects and other regulatory issues have held up the distribution of this money.
Europe has prevented the release of funds for at least half of the 47 Local Broadband Plans, but this obstacle is now set to be removed.
Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Competition, is reported to have requested only minor changes to BDUK’s funding approach.
And as such, he has now given preliminary approval for the release of public funding.
This should now see more local authorities, including Devon and Somerset who are expected to finalise a deal with BT by the end of this month, begin the rollout of high-speed broadband in East Devon and other rural areas, enabling businesses and households to improve their internet services.