A Broadband Competence Office (BCO) is a public/publicly-appointed entity that should be able to inform citizens and businesses about broadband developments/deployments in the country/region. BCOs also provide technical support (regulatory, investment models, procurement, technology, etc) to local and regional authorities about means to support the deployment of broadband networks, including ways to invest effectively in broadband projects with the support of European regional and agricultural funds (ERDF and EAFRD), in combination with financial instruments where possible, and including information on State aid rules and procedures.
The functions of BCOs include:
1. Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of broadband investments;
2. Underpinning the implementation of the Digital Single Market by accelerating public investment in broadband, including through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD);
3. Providing advice and assistance to citizens and businesses about broadband deployment (mapping coverage, quality of service and penetration, future investment plans, etc.);
4. Supporting the expertise/administrative capacity of public authorities in the planning, implementation and monitoring of broadband projects;
6. Promoting the use of financial instruments;
7. Supporting the aggregation of demand for high-speed broadband.
- Ministries and authorities in charge of the planning and implementation of Next Generation Access Network strategies;
- Municipalities and public bodies (local, regional and national) responsible for the funding and the deployment of broadband;
- Project promoters, telecom operators, utilities, user groups and any other entity seeking guidance on the planning and execution of broadband projects using a variety of business and investment models and financing structures;
- Citizens, enterprises and other bodies that wish to be informed about broadband developments, national or regional plans for broadband connectivity, and EU support available in their area;
BCOs are established on a voluntary basis. Member States decide whether and how they wish to establish their BCOs. BCOs may be established at national and regional level, or in a hybrid structure, for example, covering a cluster of regions.
National BCOs have been designated in 27 EU Member States, and the Network continues to grow at regional level.
Contact the BCO Network Support Facility to enquire about becoming an officially designated BCO.
Contact the BCO Network Support Facility to enquire about joining the BCO Network.
Training and support is available to BCOs via the BCO Network.
The BCO Network is animated by a Brussels-based Support Facility in charge of providing information and organising training sessions and events for the members of the Network.
These activities include:
- exchanging good practices in running a BCO and in broadband projects
- sharing knowledge and experience between BCOs operating in similar conditions across regions and countries
- organising thematic groups and training events focusing on the key themes and challenges of broadband development, such as State aid, technology neutrality, blended finance, mapping, etc.
Members of the BCO Network engage in discussions and access training materials and news about upcoming events through the BCO Network forum.
Consult the BCO Network Directory to find the national BCOs for individual Member States.
Contact Broadband Europe to enquire about proposing a project to be included in the database of good practices in broadband projects.
Explore the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD).