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European ITRE Committee Wants 100Mbps Broadband for All by 2020

Tuesday, Nov 6th, 2012 (10:11 am) - Score 632

The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) has supported calls for a “radical” boost to Europe’s Digital Agenda strategy, which could see “ultrafast” broadband ISP speeds of 100Mbps (Megabits per second) being made available to 100% of UK and EU households by 2020; with 50% able to get speeds of 1000Mbps (1Gbps).

The move would represent a huge and economically challenging upheaval from the existing policy, which envisages 100% having access to superfast broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020; with 50% able to get speeds of 100Mbps+.

By contrast the UK government’s current plan, which aims to make speeds of 25Mbps+ available to 90% of people by March 2015 (with the last 10% getting speeds of at least 2Mbps), is even further off the newly proposed pace.

Gunnar Hökmark MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, said:

Ultrafast broadband should deliver 100 Mbps to all and 1Gbps to 50% of the EU’s households. This is a radical increase in the digital agenda targets and I am happy that the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee endorsed this ambitious approach.

[The] vote also sharpens the criteria for public investments in ultrafast broadband by ensuring that these monies prioritise projects delivering minimum speeds of 100Mbps to rural areas and 1Gbps to high density areas. This is an investment for the future and a first step to regain the EU’s global leadership in telecoms.

Rural areas must not be left behind but should be as connected as all other parts of Europe. Ambitious speed criteria for broadband deployment in rural areas will help bridge the digital divide and make the whole EU competitive.”

Hökmark believes that the proposed €9.2bn (£7.4bn) of extra telecoms funding via the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) would be enough to “act as a catalyst” for the necessary investment, although it’s still likely to fall well short of the kind of money that would be needed to make Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) style infrastructure available to 100% of households by 2020.

National governments could also balk at idea of Europe changing its Digital Agenda goal posts mid-project and many would have difficulty finding enough investment to do the job properly, at least not without forcing the majority of home owners to pay for the hugely expensive “last milefibre optic connectivity themselves (i.e. through solutions like BT’s forthcoming FTTP-On-Demand service, which should become available to anywhere that it’s slower FTTC lines have already gone).

As it stands the proposal has yet to be fully agreed, although it is now up for wider debate and could potentially be adopted as official policy.

Mark-Jackson
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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