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Maria Miller is taking active steps to secure final approval for the release of state aid funding - as required for the UK's rural broadband rollout.

The Culture Secretary - who recently replaced Jeremy Hunt in a Cabinet reshuffle - is to fly out to Brussels in a bid to gain permission from the European Commission (EC).

EC approval is needed to use public funding for infrastructure work in the UK counties, after competition concerns were raised over the tender process for Broadband Delivery UK contracts.

Only BT and Fujitsu can be selected to carry out the required infrastructure work, with smaller broadband providers essentially excluded from the bidding process.

The government is waiting to distribute £530 million to local authorities around the UK, but has been unable to carry out this plan as yet while the EC investigates.

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told the Financial Times that Ms Miller is "frustrated" about the current situation.

"EU red tape is holding up the delivery of broadband in the UK, infrastructure that is essential to the country’s economic growth," they stated.

"[Ms Miller] will be lobbying the commission face to face, as well as urging our elected representatives in Brussels to support what is best for UK businesses and the UK’s economy."

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