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The European Commission (EC) has granted final approval for the release of state aid funding for the UK's rural broadband rollout.

As a result, local authorities will now be able to proceed with their Local Broadband Plans (LBP), which are geared at ensuring 90 per cent of homes and businesses can access super-fast speeds by 2015.

The EC's decision enables councils to access the money allocated to them by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body charged with distributing the government's £530 million fund.

The commission raised concerns over the process earlier this year, based upon the fact that only BT and Fujitsu have been able to compete for contracts.

Back in October, the EC's Joaquín Almunia requested "relatively minor changes" to BDUK and processes for the delivery of state aid funding.

And it appears the alterations have been made, convincing the EC to give the green light to the public-funded project.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said getting the green light from Brussels will mean "a huge boost" for the British economy.

"Super-fast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity and the delay has caused frustration within government," she stated.

"[This] announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country."

Ms Miller commented that Britain "is in a global race", and it needs to have the infrastructure to match its aspiration.

This will ensure people who work hard have the tools they need to get on and prosper, she added.

"Our broadband plans are hugely ambitious – to connect 90 per cent of homes to super-fast broadband and ensuring the rest have access to at least 2Mb," Ms Miller noted.

"The government will not allow parts of our country to miss out on the digital age."

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