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High speed broadband networks:European Commission confirms that investments should be primarily driven by private sector

Date

17 Sep 2009

BRUSSELS – The Guidelines on State Aid for broadband unveiled today by Commissioner Kroes should create more certainty for private investment in next generation networks by ensuring that public intervention focuses on bridging the digital divide and does not create distortions of competition.

“The European Commission confirms that investment in high speed broadband access networks should be primarily driven by the private sector. Today’s guidelines enable public authorities to play their role in supporting network deployment, while setting clear safeguards to avoid crowding out private investment”, said Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.

Next generation access networks which entail an investment estimated at ?300 billion have an essential role to play in generating growth and jobs and accelerate Europe’s recovery from the crisis.

While most of the investment should be carried out by private players, the public authorities have an essential role to play in extending broadband coverage to areas where private investment is not commercially viable.

ETNO also strongly believes that public authorities can encourage broadband network deployment by lowering costs of civil works for instance by giving access to all ducts. Governments also have a key role to play in stimulating citizens and businesses to embrace new broadband-based services for instance through tax incentives and by ensuring that public services are widely accessible online.

“The priority for the European Commission must now be to ensure that the forthcoming NGA recommendation defines an appropriate and targeted regulatory approach, guaranteeing vibrant competition while at the same time taking into account the high risks involved”, added Bartholomew.

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Communications Manager Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax: (32-2) 219 64 12 E-mail: dieu@etno.be

ETNO’s 42 member companies from 36 European countries represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than 250 billion Euros and employ over one million people across Europe. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe.

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