The European Commission has given the go-ahead for £6m in EU public funding for the construction of a super-fast broadband network in Birmingham.
The commission gave the green light to the project on the grounds that the resulting infrastructure will be "genuinely open to all operators" and will therefore increase competition.
"Investments in ultra-fast broadband networks contribute to promoting growth in line with the EU's Digital Agenda. If such networks are built with the help of taxpayers' money, it is important to ensure thriving competition on the subsidised networks, so that local businesses and citizens can benefit from continuously improving broadband services at competitive prices," Commission vice president in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said in a statement on Tuesday.
The plan for the super-fast network focused on areas of Birmingham that had little or no commercial investment plans for the next three years, and as such would be left with no, or very expensive, broadband services.
The project is part of the UK super-fast city fund that aims to fulfil one of the commitments of the EU Digital Agenda, namely to bring 100Mbps or faster connections to 50 percent of premises by 2020.
The Commission said that it had investigated the project and supported it partially on the grounds that the infrastructure will remain open to all operators for at least 25 years. EU qualification guidelines demand a minimum of seven years' open access.