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EU competition chief says Brussels not to blame for BDUK delays

Wednesday, November 28th 2012 by Paul France
Brussels not to blame for UK super-fast broadband delays, says Joaquin Almunia

Joaquin Almunia, the EU competition chief, says Brussels is not responsible for delays in the BDUK timetable.

EU bureaucracy is not to blame for delays in delivering the UK government's super-fast broadband strategy, according to EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

European officials only approved the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework this month, after investigating the plans to ensure they complied with rules on state aid.

Fears were raised as only two telecoms firms - BT and Fujitsu - were given permission to bid for contracts under the BDUK scheme.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Almunia insisted Brussels bureaucrats "worked faster than their London colleagues", contrary to claims made by UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

Although he stressed the importance of politicians on both sides of the English Channel doing all they can to avoid unnecessary red tape, the commissioner said it is essential to clarify the "real origin of the days".

"We asked the UK government last February to supply the necessary information to us and only received a complete answer in October," Mr Almunia explained.

The competition chief also stressed that conversations held by Ms Miller in Brussels this month had no impact on the eventual timetable for approval of the BDUK project.

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