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Edinburgh council hits out at Super Connected Cities rethink

Tuesday, June 4th 2013 by Hannah Langston
Edinburgh council frustrated about issues with UK govt's Super Connected Cities programme

Problems with the Super Connected Cities programme should have been identified months ago, the City of Edinburgh Council has said.

The City of Edinburgh Council has hit out at the UK government for perceived failings with its Super Connected Cities programme.

Announced in 2011, the scheme was designed to bring up to 100Mbps broadband and large areas of public Wi-Fi access to currently underserved urban communities.

However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been forced to rethink the initiative amid threats of an EU investigation into whether or not it breaches European state aid rules. As a result, Edinburgh - one of the cities set to benefit from the scheme - was left with only three weeks to rewrite its application for £10.7 million of funding.

Alasdair Rankin, Convenor of the Finance Committee at the City of Edinburgh Council, said the problems would never have come about if the programme had been properly thought through from its inception.

"It's very frustrating from the council's point of view," he was quoted by the Scotsman as saying. "We had a team who put together an excellent bid that came very near the top of the ten cities that were successful."

Mr Rankin added that the authority is now aiming to draw up proposals allowing it to get the maximum benefit from the £10.7 million grant without state aid concerns coming into play.

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