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UK and European Leaders Support GBP7.5bn Superfast Broadband Boost

Saturday, October 20th, 2012 (1:14 am) - Score 573

The European Council, which is represented by the leaders of each member state (e.g. UK Prime Minister, David Cameron), yesterday set aside its doubts and gave explicit support to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and its proposed investment of €9.2bn (almost £7.5bn) into the delivery of faster broadband services.

The apparent endorsement was welcomed by the vice president of the European Commission’s (EC) Digital Agenda project, Neelie Kroes, whom expressed concern last month after the Cypriot Presidency suggested that a lack of support existed among national governments and called for the level of investment to be “reconsidered“.

But in a new statement the European Council has outlined its support for the CEF and described it as “an important instrument to promote growth through investment in transport, energy and ICT links“. The statement added that the council was looking “forward to the forthcoming proposals on reducing the cost of the deployment of high speed broadband“.

Neelie Kroes commented:

Good to see that today’s European Council has explicitly supported the Connecting Europe Facility, including for digital technologies and infrastructure.

And that makes sense – because those national leaders also support measures to boost growth and build a digital single market, and you can’t do that without fast broadband infrastructure, and high-quality online services.”

However Kroes warned that the statement still had to be translated “into concrete action to unlock this essential investment“, with the final decision on CEF funding expected to be taken in November 2012. The extra money would be used to help make superfast broadband (30Mbps+) services available to 100% of Europeans by 2020 (including in the UK).

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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