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UK rural broadband plans get EU backing

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The UK's plans to introduce super-fast broadband to rural areas have received the backing of the European Union.

EU approval was required as the initiative is partially state-funded, and now that it has been secured, the government can press on with its plans to connect the country to speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2015.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport speaks at Britain's Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham, England.

© PA Images / Jon Super/AP

Maria Miller

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© Rex Features



"Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy," said culture secretary Maria Miller.

"Today's announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country."

The move means that local councils can begin laying cables to make way for the service, though the majority are yet to select a service provider.

A funding pot of £530 million has been set aside to bankroll the project, but local councils and the providers themselves will also be required to provide some financing.

BT will act as the service provider in all of the areas to have held auctions so far, after winning each one, BBC News reports.

Wales and Surrey will be the first rural areas to receive super-fast broadband, with Cumbria, Rutland, Hereford and Gloucestershire expected to follow suit.

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