A broadband investment guide, released today, will help local, regional and national authorities to develop long-term development plans to bring fast internet to their communities. The handbook gives practical tips to support public authorities in the preparation of broadband investment projects, including those co-financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Connecting Europe Facility.
European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroesEU, in charge of the Digital Agenda said: "This guide will help public authorities make the right choices and plan the right investments for their villages, towns and regions to go digital. State-of-the art broadband infrastructure will bring growth, jobs and new opportunities for all parts of Europe, in particular rural areas and other regions where there is not enough interest of private investors.
European Commissioner @JHahnEU, in charge of the Regional policy said: "Between 2007 and 2012 over 5 million people got access to broadband thanks to Structural Funds. Standard broadband availability is now more or less 100% in nearly all regions, but more needs to be done, as access to the next generation of links to the internet is largely limited to urban areas. In 2012, 9.1 million homes in the EU still did not have fixed broadband coverage and over 90% of these were in rural areas. Only 12% of rural households in the EU had access to high-speed internet.”
European Commissioner Almunia, in charge of Competition policy, said: "Broadband infrastructure requires the right mix between public and private funding. EU state aid rules ensure that taxpayers' money makes a real difference and that no available technology is excluded."
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, Dacian Cioloş said: "I hope that the guide will help national and regional authorities make use of EU funds for further developing an innovative, knowledge-based businesses and human capital in rural areas, for example in helping help to close the rural-urban gap in access to high - speed internet facilities.”
This is an update of the guide to broadband investment published in 2011, and developed by experts in the field with the contribution of the regions involved in the Engage Project (High Speed Broadband for Rural Europe).
In addition to the guide, the European Commission can offer support and guidance from the following sources: