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Europe to Propose GBP8 Billion Investment in Superfast Broadband Rollouts

Posted: 17th Oct, 2011 By: MarkJ
european union mapThe European Commission (EC) is this week expected to propose a huge investment boost of approximately £8bn (€9.2bn) to help achieve its Digital Agenda targets. The agenda aims to ensure that all Europeans have access to "basic" and "competitively-priced" broadband internet access services by 2013 and superfast (30Mbps+) speeds by 2020; with 50% or more EU households subscribing to 100Mbps.

According to the BBC News, this investment (Connecting Europe Facility) would cover the period from 2014 to 2020. The plan would still require approval from both the European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers before it could proceed.

EU Sources told the BBC:

"Europe needs these fast broadband networks to allow its economy to become more competitive in the future, and so create more jobs and prosperity.

This money would stimulate much greater investment of private and other public money. Each euro [invested by the Commission] would give rise to a further six to 15 euros more."

An earlier January 2011 report revealed that the EC had already approved £1.528bn (€1.8 billion) in state aid (public funds) to help achieve its Digital Agenda targets (here); four times the amount allowed in 2009. It might surprise some readers to learn that a large chunk of EU funding, mostly from previous years, has gone to broadband ISP projects in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile the UK government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office has a budget of £530m until 2015 (rising to £830m by 2017 if needed) to help 90% of "people in each local authority area" gain access to a superfast (24Mbps+) broadband ISP service by 2015. The last 10% have also been promised a minimum download speed of at least 2Mbps under the Universal Service Commitment (USC).

In related news Tom Greatrex, a Labour MP, has warned that Scotland risks "falling behind" the rest of the UK on broadband connectivity unless it doubles their current level of investment.
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