State aid: Commission clears UK umbrella support scheme for broadband investment ‘BDUK’

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The European Commission has found that a UK umbrella support scheme for investments in next generation access (NGA) broadband networks, ‘BDUK’, is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the scheme is aimed at supporting local projects in rural and remote areas, where such networks would unlikely be developed on commercial terms.

“BDUK, as a national competence centre, will assist local granting authorities in designing and implementing successful broadband support measures in line with EU competition rules. The umbrella scheme will be a big step towards the achievement of the EU Digital Agenda targets and a strong impetus for growth in the UK” said Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia.

The UK notified plans to set up an umbrella scheme for implementing around 140 local broadband support projects without individual state aid notifications to the Commission. The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme aims to provide as many UK homes and businesses as possible with access to superfast broadband infrastructure in the so-called “final third” areas. These areas are typically low-density, rural areas, where commercial operators are unlikely to invest in high quality broadband networks. Here to read more.

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