Imagine there was a way that each euro spent for network deployment could lead to 20-30% more high-speed broadband deployment. Now calculate this to the € 200 billion needed to achieve the Digital Agenda Targets. This would amount to €40 to €60 billion savings for the providers, enough to expand high-speed broadband further in areas where deployment is currently too costly, such as in rural areas. This is not imagination! It just makes sense and it is reality since this morning.
Today is a great day for my team and me: after two exiting years of hard work, we have delivered on the commitment undertaken by the European Union to give the telecoms sector binding measures to reduce the cost of roll-out of high-speed networks. The Directive on measures to reduce the cost of broadband roll-out, agreed between the co-legislators last February, was published today in the Official Journal.
The rules published today scale up national best practices in four main areas:
- Enhanced facility sharing with energy, transport and other utilities of existing infrastructure (such as ducts, poles or masts), for operators willing to invest to provide high-speed broadband;
- Efficient coordination of civil works, avoiding digging duplication;
- Faster & simpler permit granting;
- Equipping new buildings & major renovations with high-speed infrastructures and organising access to it.
While Member States have until 1 January 2016 to transpose the directive into their national legislation, there is nothing that prevents stakeholders from starting to exploit synergies right now. In order to help businesses and public administrations to be well prepared and benefit from the potential of cost saving measures as soon as possible we envisage actions such as:
- organising a workshop on the 26 June 2014 on how telecom operators and energy operators can work together to enhance mutual understandings and cooperation to make the most of this proposal;
- providing non-stop guidance to public authorities and network operators in our Broadband portal.
The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. Much of this growth has been fuelled by broadband internet. The development of high-speed networks today is having the same revolutionary impact as the development of electricity and transportation networks had a century ago. I am confident that this piece of legislation will contribute that every euro invested in network deployment has maximum impact.