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EU rules to slash broadband installation costs

EU ambassadors meeting as the Council’s ‘Coreper’ group endorsed a political agreement reached between the European Parliament, Commission and Council. The draft EU Directive is based on broadband cost reduction as civil engineering, such as the digging up of roads to lay down fiber broadband, accounts for up to 80% of the cost of deploying high-speed networks.  Commission’s aim is to save companies 40 – 60 billion Euros. The Commission further estimates that a 10% increase in broadband penetration would increase GDP by 1-1.5%.

The agreement 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.

Before entering into force, the directive still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, most likely on its plenary session in April 2014, and by the Council which will make its decision after the vote in the Parliament.


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