Rural fibre broadband gets the go-ahead from Europe

The EU is going to approve the roll-out of fibre broadband to the countryside.

The EU is going to approve the roll-out of fibre broadband to rural areas, meaning those living in the countryside could finally be on track to get an Internet speed boost.

The state-sponsored plans can't go ahead without the nod from Europe, the BBC reports. That's because all bids to deliver the faster networks have been won by BT -- something that could have put the plans in breach of EU competition rules.

"It is our understanding that the commission is on track to issue its final decision in late October or early November," said a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Once that happens, speedy broadband can be dished out to councils.

The green light is a positive sign, but the plans have been wallowing with little progress for a while now. Only five contracts with local councils have been inked so far, and BT has been the only company to successfully bid for anything.

Leaked documents that recently emerged suggested BT is inflating its charges for building the rural network, the Guardian reports -- a charge BT strenuously denies. The government has earmarked £530m for the project.

Fingers crossed that once the EU gives the fibre plot the nod, councils can move past the omnishambles phase of the problem and into the solution phase of the problem.

BT's plan involves both fibre to the home (FTTH) and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) -- which sees fibre cabling hooked up to street cabinets, and good old-fashioned copper connecting to homes. A question hangs over whether that's the best technology to deploy.

The UK is getting a mobile data speed boost in the form of 4G -- which will make things like web browsing, video buffering and app downloads happen at greater speeds. I've embedded a speed-test video below to give you an idea. Needless to say, 4G has quickly become massively complicated as well.

Are you in a rural area with rubbish broadband? Is it no better in towns? Stick your broadband grumbles in the comments below, or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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