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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission requests Greece to implement rules to facilitate telecom networks roll-out

Brussels, 27 October 2011 - The European Commission has requested Greece to adopt legislation to make it easier for telecom operators to install facilities such as ducts, manholes, masts or antennae on, over or under public or private property. Greece was originally scheduled to adopt legislation on such rights of way by the end of 2006 when the country implemented the 2002 EU telecoms rules. But not all the necessary rules have yet been put in place.

This failure has hampered the development of broadband internet. With a fixed broadband take-up of just 19.9% of the population against an EU27 average of 26.6%, a mobile broadband take-up of 2.6% compared to an EU27 average of 7.2% and only 41.2% of households having a broadband subscription against an EU27 average of 60.8%, Greece is lagging behind other EU Member States (see Digital Agenda Scoreboard).

Broadband Internet is a bridge to Europe's social and economic future. According to numerous studies, there is a strong correlation between an increase in broadband take-up and GDP growth

Adoption of the new rules would give legal certainty to network operators and act as an incentive for them to invest in new networks, especially fixed and mobile Next Generation Access (NGA) networks. In this way Greece would be better able to attain the targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe and bring basic broadband to every European citizen by 2013. Given the current difficult economic situation in Greece, uncertainty about the procedures for installing broadband networks deprives the country of investment that would be useful for its economic recovery.

The Commission's request to Greece to adopt the rules on installation facilities takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under the EU infringement procedure. Greece now has two months to inform the Commission of the measures it has taken to comply with EU rules. If it fails to do so, the Commission could refer Greece to the EU's Court of Justice.


Greece adopted telecoms laws in 2006 implementing the EU's telecoms Authorisation Directive (2002/20/EC) into national law. However secondary legislation regarding the "procedure for granting rights of way for electronic communications networks" and "base stations and antennae constructions that are exempted from authorisation" to complete the implementation have still not been adopted.

EU telecom rules, in particular Articles 11 of the Framework Directive (2002/21/EC) and Article 4(1) of the Authorisation Directive (2002/20/EC) lay down precise provisions relating to the obligation of Member States to ensure the existence of timely, non-discriminatory, simple, efficient, transparent and publicly available procedures for granting rights to install facilities on, over or under public or private property to public communications networks operators.

Useful links

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/739

An overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:

Digital Agenda website:


Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

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