EU Member States have missed the opportunity for future-proof broadband, according to the Fibre to the Home Council Europe.
As reported in Broadband TV News Massive cuts in the EU budget have resulted in the obliteration of a €9.2bn fund proposed to help bring faster broadband to the 27 Member States by 2020. Only €1 billion out of the €9.2 billion was agreed, which, as the VP of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, notes, “still leaves room to invest in service infrastructure… But this funding will have to be exclusively for digital services: because such a smaller sum does not leave room for investing in broadband networks.”
Karin Ahl, president of the FTTH Council Europe, expressed her disappointment with the budget cuts. “The FTTH Council Europe is very disappointed that the EU Member States did not agree on the digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility. By reducing the financial envelope down to €1 billion for telecommunications there will be no room for the support of fibre infrastructure investments. The decision shows that there still is a lack of understanding of European Governments on the importance of future-proof broadband networks.
“Governments all over the world increase their efforts to ensure the availability of real broadband connections for their citizens. Therefore the European Union has just missed an important chance to make the right decision, not only for the years to come but also, and more importantly, for the future of a competitive Europe.
“The FTTH Council Europe will continue its efforts to create awareness for the importance of fibre access networks in Europe. We will work on solutions to create a positive environment for fibre investments and to enable investors and FTTH projects to successfully implement future-proof fibre access networks. The ‘Investors Day’ at the FTTH Conference in London next week will be one of those activities.
“Now that the EU Member States have failed to realise the importance of the digital part of the Connecting Europe Facility, the role of the FTTH Council Europe on the investment and financing side will be even more important – and we are looking forward to face this challenge.”