Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Broadband Strategy & Policy

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10% increase in broadband penetration brings up the GDP by 1-1.5%.
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Broadband connectivity has made considerable progress in the last decade – enabling a large part of European businesses and citizens to participate in digital activities of different sorts. However, there is still need for action until everyone is connected to sufficient broadband infrastructure. This is the reason why a common broadband strategy and policy is needed, defining aims and targets of broadband development and serving as a point of reference for strategies and policies in the Member States.

The significance of broadband development and its importance for a network-based knowledge society has been recognised by the “Europe 2020” strategy. In order to reap the full benefits offered by ICT and to keep up with other international markets, Europe needs widely available and competitively-priced fast and ultra-fast internet access.

Among the 13 specific goals set in the Digital Agenda, the further development and extension of broadband coverage in Europe is explicitly emphasised with the aims of the EU being nationwide covered by broadband above 30 Mbps by 2020 and 50% of the EU to be subscribed to broadband above 100 Mbps by 2020. This results in concrete DAE broadband targets:

  • Basic broadband for all citizens by 2013 (target met - satellite broadband is available to raise the coverage to 100% in every Member State);
  • Coverage: Next Generation Networks (NGN) (30 Mbps or more) for all by 2020;
  • Uptake: 50% of households having 100 Mbps subscriptions or higher.
  • The European Commission's policy framework to achieve these targets encourages both private and public investment in fast and ultra-fast networks.

Policy and Regulatory instruments

These ambitious targets are accompanied by a comprehensive and future-oriented broadband policy.

  • The Commission issued a Recommendation on Next Generation Access (NGA) networks setting out a common EU wide approach to the EU regulatory framework for eCommunications; the aim is to foster competition and incentivise private investments in new super-fast networks.
  • The Digital Agenda Review proposed a package of regulatory measures on non-discrimination (Draft Recommendation adopted 2013) and wholesale pricing to promote investment and strengthen competition across all networks.
  • On 27 March 2013 the College adopted a proposal of a regulation concerning measures to reduce the costs of deploying high speed electronic communications networks.
  • Update of the 2007 Recommendation on the list of markets relevant for ex ante regulation.
  • In July 2012, Vice-President Kroes announced a 10 step Action Plan to create the legal predictability that investors are asking for against the current overall economic situation in Europe and the substantial roll-out costs of high speed internet.
  • In areas affected by market failure, public investment needs to adhere to the Commission's State Aid Broadband Guidelines which were revised in December 2012 (See Guidelines and Press release ).

The EU works towards providing a stable legal framework that stimulates investments in an open and competitive environment. Moreover, we strive for developing an efficient spectrum policy and to facilitate the use of the EU's structural funds. All regulatory measures are ultimately set to facilitate a connected continent.

Broadband and Member States

To practically implement the aspirations of the Digital Agenda, all Member States are encouraged to endorse its targets and draw up national broadband strategies which should provide a country-specific framework for the coordination and organisation of broadband development activities (State aid guidelines). National broadband policies should be supported by the provision of information and a network through an appointed institution in each country.

Check the overview of the broadband policies and strategies of each member state.

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