Saturday, August 26, 2006
By Basheera Khan | 23 Aug 2006
The Welsh Assembly Government is to be investigated by the European Commission following claims of unlawful behaviour under state aid rules in its awarding of a contract to BT to upgrade 35 exchanges in Wales that had previously been excluded from the telco's national ADSL implementation on economic grounds.
The contract forms part of the £13.4m Regional Innovative Broadband Support (RIBS) initiative, which is the final stage of the Broadband Wales strategy to ensure 100% broadband coverage in Wales by 2007.
The complaint has been brought by WBNet Ltd, a family-run company in Monmouthshire which in 2004 began offering a 2Mbps SDSL wireless broadband service to businesses and communities across that county. Most commercial broadband services offered at present, including those offered by BT, are based on ADSL, which offers slower upload speed than it does download speeds. Using SDSL, broadband providers can offer a service where the upload speeds and download speeds are the same.