The European Commission today proposed new rules to cut by 30% the cost of rolling out high-speed Internet. Civil engineering, such as the digging up of roads to lay down fibre, accounts for up to 80% of the cost of deploying high-speed networks. Today's proposal may save companies €40 to 60 billion.
High-speed broadband is the backbone of the telecoms and wider Digital Single Market, the Commission is attempting to build. Its rollout is currently slowed down by a patchwork of rules and administrative practices at national and sub-national levels. "In most places, today's rules hurt Europe's competitiveness," said European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes.
Today's draft regulation builds on best practices in place today in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom, but leaves organisational issues very much to the discretion of Member States.
Neelie Kroes said: "Everyone deserves fast broadband. I want to burn the red tape that is stopping us for getting there. The European Commission wants to make it quicker and cheaper to get that broadband."
The Rules would become directly applicable across the EU after agreement by the European Parliament and Council.
The Commission wants to tackle four main problem areas:
Ensuring that new or renovated buildings are high-speed-broadband-ready.
Opening access to infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms and conditions, including price, to existing ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions.
Ending insufficient coordination of civil works, by enabling any network operator to negotiate agreements with other infrastructure providers
Simplifying complex and time-consuming permit granting, especially for masts and antennas, by granting or refusing permits within six months by default and allowing requests to be made through a single point of contact.
There is currently little transparency on existing physical infrastructure suitable for broadband rollout and no appropriate commonly-used rules when deploying broadband across the EU. At the moment, there is no market-place for physical infrastructure and the potential to use infrastructure belonging to other utilities. Regulations in certain Member States even discourage utility companies from cooperating with telecom operators.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc