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New Award Sees Europe Hunt for the Top 5 European Broadband Projects

Friday, June 19th, 2015 (8:27 am) - Score 414

The European Commission has started a new competition (‘European Broadband Award‘) that aims to identify the five best “high-speed” (30Mbps+) broadband projects that are delivering in urban, suburban and rural areas. But the EC’s “Good Practice” examples are.. less encouraging.

Apparently the awards are open to projects run either by public authorities (national, regional or local) or any big or small privately funded schemes, such as for example some of the national Broadband Delivery UK programmes with BT.

However one of the criteria for selection is “competition and open access“, which could work against some otherwise brilliant schemes like B4RN’s community deployment of Gigabit broadband in rural Lancashire, as well as Gigaclear’s similarly rural FTTP network or Hyperoptic’s urban FTTP/B service. None of which are open access networks.

Criteria’s for Project Selection
• Social and economic impact and affordability.
• Innovative business and financing models.
• Cost reduction and co-investment measures.
• Competition and open access.
• Future proof and quality of service.

The EC’s new award is designed to promote “Good Practices” in related broadband deployments (i.e. 30Mbps+ speeds and aim for 50% to take 100Mbps+) and they also offer a number of examples of such projects across different EU states, although some of the project picks for the United Kingdom are a bit worrying.

On the one hand they’ve picked good UK examples, such as Hyperoptic and JT’s fibre optic deployments, while on the other they still list the Digital Region fiasco from South Yorkshire (here) and i3 Group’s (now Cityfibre) not entirely profitable FTTH roll-out in Bournemouth that cost around £12m and at the last count had only a few hundred customers (note: Cityfibre has done plenty of excellent work since then, which would have made for better examples). Perhaps the EC should update these.

EC Statement

Initiated and operated by the European Commission, Broadband Europe has been launched to inform about broadband developments in Europe. It is a platform to exchange experience and to showcase practical project implementation. Broadband Europe is specifically addressed to interested citizens, local political representatives, NGOs, civil servants involved in broadband developments as well as telecom operators and manufacturing companies.

Broadband Europe is open to everyone to push forward the objectives of the digital economy and society. Through an interactive community, Broadband Europe is also a platform to exchange information and experiences on policies, the regulatory environment and technological and practical implementation issues.

The application period for submissions is open until 18th September 2015 (here) and the winners will then be announced during the EU Broadband event on 16th November 2015 in Brussels.

At this stage it doesn’t look as if there are any prizes for winning, except for the obvious benefit of some extra publicity. On the flip side there’s the cost of travel and time away from work so that the winners can “take part in the events and workshops aimed at the spread of broadband good practices in the regional and rural domains“.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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