The EU passes a (fictitious) regulation requiring the replacement of the current copper wire network with fibre optic cable by December 2013. GB Open search is the body entrusted with installing fibre optic cable throughout the UK. The scheme is devised and monitored by the Minister for Science and Technology. GB Open search is unable to provide Bob with fibre optic cable as he lives on the Isle of Skye off the West coast of Scotland and the sea channel between the Island and the mainland is very busy.
The EU also passes a (fictitious) directive on the right of all residents to high speed broadband by Jan 2014. This includes the duty to replace all existing broad band connections with modern connections to the new fibre optic system. The Directive is to be implemented by Member States by July 2013. The UK Statutory Instrument implementing the directive says that ‘all connections within private buildings will be replaced with modern connections.’ The connections are being changed by a subcontractor; Sparky Ltd. Sparky has been given a wide discretion as to how they complete the job as long as they are finished by December 2013. They are given details of all current broadband users so that they can contact them to arrange changing the connections.
Martin’s small IT business leases part of a building used by the local secondary school. This is a public building. Sparky therefore refuse to replace the connections as they are only required to replace connections in private buildings. As a result, Martin loses business to operators who are able to offer high speed broadband.
Advise Bob and Martin as to whether EU law will assist them. Refer to relevant case law and statutory authority to support your answer.
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