The significance of broadband development and its importance for a network-based knowledge society is 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.
A Public Consultation on the Needs for Internet Speed and Quality Beyond 2020 has been launched on 11th September 2015. Citizens, all industry representatives with a stake in this field, civil society organisations, public authorities and researchers are invited to contribute. Following the evaluation process, the Commission will present its proposal on how to address the identified challenges.
The further development and extension of broadband coverage in Europe is explicitly emphasised with the aims of the EU being covered nationwide 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:
In line with President Juncker's earlier announcements, the Commission has recently released the Investment Plan for Europe, a package of measures to unlock public and private investments in the real economy of at least EUR 315 billion over the next three years (2015-2017). President Juncker's plan will have a strong focus on digital infrastructures, notably broadband.
The main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe will be a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), to be set up within the European Investment Bank. Member States will have the opportunity to contribute to the Fund directly or through their National Promotional Banks. The EFSI is earmarked to finance high speed broadband roll-out and other digital networks in 2014-2020 including rural areas.
The EU works towards providing a stable legal framework that stimulates investments in an open and competitive environment. This includes the development of an efficient spectrum policy and the facilitation of EU's structural funds. All regulatory measures are ultimately set to facilitate a connected continent.
The Digital Agenda Toolbox provides support to regional and national authorities to develop a thorough understanding of the digital growth potential stemming from the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE). It highlights the opportunities that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entails as a key element in their national or regional research and innovation strategies.
In order to practically implement the aspirations of the Digital Agenda, all Member States are encouraged to endorse its targets and draw up national broadband strategies. All Member States 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.