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The government has been forced to push back the timetable for local authorities seeking to use its procurement process for rural broadband projects.

According to the Financial Times, the process has been set back by at least three months due to ongoing negotiations with the European Union over state aid.

In order to sign off public funding for local broadband schemes, the EU has to be satisfied that service providers have been given fair access to public contracts.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport originally set a target for completing procurements by December 2012, on the basis that a framework for bidding would be agreed by April.

However, this was not decided until July, meaning the process is three months behind schedule and "unlikely to be completed by December".

"We are working on completing the procurements as rapidly as possible on the basis that the process started three months later than originally planned," a government spokesperson stated.

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