Overall, the study gives an overview on the current state in the Member States regarding their connectivity, the targets and measures defined within the NBPs and the practical implementation processes. It was conducted between November 2015 and September 2016. The analysis mainly relies on information obtained from the European Commission, the National authorities and Digital Scoreboard data covering 2015. Furthermore, the authors reached out to key stakeholders and practitioners from the 28 Member States to gain insights into the implementation of the National Broadband Plans in each country. Check the Study on National Broadband Plans (NBPs) in the EU-28 for the main results and the detailed analysis of each country.
The main results of the study are as follows:
- Despite ambitious national broadband plans, only few Member States are close to reaching the DAE targets or their national targets respectively. Only few countries will possibly reach their targets by 2020.
- The Member States’ NBPs differ substantially regarding their content. Some countries do not have a single document that can be regarded as an NBP, but all countries have an overall strategic approach for the deployment of NGA networks that is implemented in practice.
- There are plenty of conditions that influence the success of NGA rollout in each country. Successful countries consider in the NBPs their respective starting positions and describe concrete measures that take advantage of the individual strengths and define measures to mitigate the effect of disadvantages.
- The NBPs of the Member States usually focus on one or two of the following spheres: demand side measures, supply side measures, regulatory and organizational measures or transparency measures.
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution for broadband strategies across Europe. The NBPs seem not to be transferrable, while some measures could be applied under similar conditions.
Generally, the results of the study reinforce the need to increase and incentivise investments. If Europe is to be a frontrunner at a global level, broadband development needs to speed up. In this regard, the provision and use of fast and ultrafast internet services is crucial for Europe’s future economic development and competitiveness as well as for the progress and cohesion of society as a whole. With the main strategic objectives for 2025 for the European Gigabit Society, the European Commission has set up a substantial framework for the future digital expansion of Europe. For Europe to take the full advantage of this framework and to realise the potential of digital development, all relevant stakeholders need to maximise their efforts. The Member States have to provide appropriate incentives and means for increasing investment, whilst local actors and the ICT industry has to make use of these instruments. In that sense, the Member States should build on existing successful measures, but be more ambitious, not only in terms of incentives and means, but especially, with regard to the Commission’s strategy on Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society, in terms of objectives, thereby ensuring Europe’s future economic and social progress.