Ultrafast broadband – response to legal challenge

By on 22/10/2012 in Cllr McKay, News

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city at Birmingham City Council, has responded to news that Virgin and BT are to challenge a State Aid ruling which was in support of the city developing its own ultrafast broadband infrastructure.

He said: “Birmingham is extremely disappointed in Virgin Media's decision to appeal this landmark ruling.

“The city has worked in a very positive and collaborative way with them over the last few years to help inform and develop our business case and we are surprised that they have now chosen to appeal at such a late stage.

“We developed a robust State Aid case, based heavily on evidence that Virgin Media and others provided to us that clearly demonstrates a strong market failure.

“We have proven that it is an imperfect market and have presented to the Commission a case that the majority of SMEs in Digbeth, Eastside and The Jewellery Quarter areas cannot receive affordable high speed broadband.

“This decision has the potential to damage the creation of up to 1,000 new jobs, preventing up to £200 million per annum of GVA being pumped back into the economy.

“We are liaising with Government and the European Commission and we are advocating that this matter be treated with some urgency as a 'test case' for Europe and that everything that can be done to expedite it through the legal process is done.”

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