EU Commissioner warns member states to back broadband in new budget

EU countries are considering diverting funds away from next gen networks

Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner has warned E.U. member states that they cannot get away with not supporting broadband rollout and next generation networks.

The comments from Neelie Kroes come following suggestions that some countries want to divert Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds away from building next generation networks and into transport and energy instead.

"Every Council meeting is asking for more digital action, more digital progress," said Kroes. "Now they need to put their money where their mouths have been. Some politicians think broadband isn't sexy because you can't see it. Well, let me tell you that recession is even less sexy. And if you cut broadband investment, then you cut growth. We don't need more empty airports. We need a balanced investment program in Europe that targets investment at the sectors with strongest prospects for growth."

European Affairs ministers held an informal meeting on Thursday to discuss the E.U. budget for 2014-2020 of which CEF is a part. The total proposed funding is ¬50 billion (US$62.65 billion), but according to leaked reports, the telecommunications part has received less support by member states than transport and energy and the Council may reconsider "the size and relative weight given to the three strands" of the CEF.

ETNO, the industry group representing Europe's largest telecoms providers, said on its website that funds must not be diverted.

Meanwhile, Ireland announced on Thursday that it would allocate ¬200 million in state funding along with matching funds from private telecom companies as part of a national broadband plan. State aid clearance from the European Commission will almost certainly be required, in order to guarantee that public funds are not substituting for potential private sector investment.

The Commission has been very active in implementing Telecoms Directive rules in recent weeks, telling the Czech telecoms regulator to withdraw plans on access to its broadband networks.

The regulators in the Czech Republic, TÚ, wanted to include wholesale broadband services based on cable and Wi-Fi platforms in its definition of the wholesale broadband access product market. This would have partially lifted obligations on the main Czech telecoms operator Telefónica to give alternative operators access to its infrastructure.

And on Tuesday the Commission ordered the Polish telecoms regulator, UKE, to amend or withdraw its proposal to give alternative operators only limited access to Telekomunikacja Polska's fiber networks. In the Commission's view, UKE's decision could have a negative effect on competition and the future development of fiber networks.

These are the only two times that the Commission has issued such recommendations, but give a clear signal that the Commission may be at odds with member states on the issue of pushing next generation networks. Kroes plans to present draft guidelines on broadband access regulation before the end of the year.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?