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10 Percent Extra EU Broadband Penetration Means 1.5 Percent More Growth

Thursday, Sep 20th, 2012 (10:32 am) - Score 408

The Vice President of the European Commission’s (EC) Digital Agenda project, Neelie Kroes, has today told a delegation in Bulgaria that Europe needs “fast broadband networks for everyone” or “none of the magic will happen” and economic growth might suffer.

Europe’s Digital Agenda affects all member states and aims to make “basic broadband” (0.5Mbps – 4Mbps speeds) services available to all Europeans by 2013. On top of that it wants 100% of Europeans to have access to internet download speeds of at least 30Mbps (Megabits per second) by 2020; with 50% or more using a 100Mbps product.

By comparison the UK government wants 90% to be within reach of 25Mbps+ speeds (with everybody having access to at least 2Mbps) by 2015, yet we’re still bound to Europe’s Digital Agenda targets and will probably meet the “basic” goal; this still somewhat depends upon how you choose to skew the country’s figures (i.e. almost everybody is connected to an ADSL broadband-enabled exchange but not everybody can receive a reliable service).

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC’s Digital Agenda, said:

The EU’s digital agenda. What is it? Well, it’s more than just a slogan. It’s a chance for us to deliver opportunity to every citizen; and change our economy for the better.

The EU needs fast broadband networks for everyone. Without that, none of the magic will happen. That’s why broadband, more than anything, stimulates the economy: 10 percentage points more broadband penetration means 1 to 1.5 percent more growth.

How do we get these networks? Well, for one thing, by innovative investment. Like our proposed Connecting Europe Facility. For broadband, there’s over 7 billion euros for projects across Europe. Private sector leverage means we give taxpayers the most value from their euro. All together it could mean 45 million more households connected across Europe.”

Kroes speech also hinted towards several wider concerns, not least with the prospect for a reduction in broadband funding via the Connecting Europe Facility (here), but also over fears that many countries may struggle to meet the minimum 30Mbps target by 2020.

This is one of the reasons why the EC recently decided to review its EU State Aid rules, so as to encourage the roll-out of “ultra-fast” networks (100Mbps+) “under certain conditions” (further details). It’s also been busy examining the competitive landscape, which has resulted in delays to public funding approval for many of the UK’s related Local Broadband Plans (LBP). It’s hoped that this can be resolved before the end of September (here).

To find its place in the future global economy, Europe needs to become the connected, competitive continent. The e-EU. The right networks, skills and innovation can transform Europe for the better,” concluded Kroes.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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