Brussels, 28 February 2014
Neelie Kroes welcomes political agreement on EU rules to slash broadband installation costs
Vice President Neelie Kroes today welcomed Member States' endorsement the draft EU Directive on broadband cost reduction. Civil engineering, such as the digging up of roads to lay down fibre broadband, accounts for up to 80% of the cost of deploying high-speed networks and the Commission's proposal aimed to save companies a staggering €40 - 60 billion.
Today, EU ambassadors meeting as the Council's ‘Coreper’ group, endorsed the political agreement reached between representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council on Monday on the final elements this key broadband legislation.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said: "Broadband networks are the backbone of modern economies. I am pleased to see that the co-legislators agreed on rules which will help reduce the cost of broadband deployment. Such measures will bring high-speed broadband closer to European citizens, not least those living in the most remote areas where deployment is very expensive. It will also mean less digging as the rules enable synergies across the sectors, between telecom operators and utilities."
Tomorrow's digital services - from connected TV to cloud computing and e-Health - increasingly rely on fast, effective broadband connections. A 10% increase in broadband penetration would increase GDP by 1-1.5%.
In March 2013, the Commission proposed new rules to cut the cost of rolling out high-speed Internet ( IP/13/281 and MEMO/13/287) by up to 30%. Members of the European Parliament will vote the formal approval of this agreement during the April plenary session in Strasbourg, and the Council of Ministers will follow in June.
The agreement on legislation endorsed today tackles four main problem areas:
-Ensuring that new or majorly renovated buildings are high-speed-broadband-ready.
-Opening access on fair and reasonable terms and conditions, including price, to infrastructure such as existing ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions.
-Ending insufficient coordination of civil works, by enabling any network operator to negotiate agreements with other infrastructure providers.
-Simplifying complex and time-consuming permit granting, especially for masts and antennas, by granting or refusing permits within six months by default.
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