Broadband upgrade hit by European red tape

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A DELAY by the European Commission on a decision to rollout superfast broadband across the South East has been heavily criticised.

Peter Jones, chairman of the South East 7 Partnership and Leader of East Sussex County Council, has condemned what he says is European Union red tape which is holding up the programme.

He says any delay will have a catastrophic effect on businesses.

Peter Jones said, “The EU has to give approval of all projects that use public funds – so far it has refused to do so as it does not agree with the UK over some technical points.

“Local authorities from the South East 7 Partnership have been working hard for the last year to get Broadband Plans approved and have allocated over £57m collectively to put towards rollout.

“This is a major achievement in today’s financial climate and shows the strength of our commitment. We are furious that European bureaucracy is holding up essential progress.”

The South East 7 Partnership has written to MPs and MEPs urging that pressure is applied to reach agreement as quickly as possible.

“We need the European Commission to resolve these issues very soon so that we can all get on with the important job of getting superfast broadband rolled out to our businesses and residents,” added Mr Jones.