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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 26 March 2013

Less digging = more broadband. What does this mean for …

IP/13/281

Context

The European Commission wants all European citizens and businesses to have access to the Internet at a speed of at least 30 Mbps and that at least 50% of European households subscribe to Internet connections above 100 Mbps by 2020.

In 2013 the Commission is rolling-out a 10 point broadband plan (SPEECH/13/80) to achieve this, which will be built on in the summer by a full blueprint for a single market for ICT

In many cases, reaching these targets means rolling-out new broadband infrastructure or upgrading existing connections. This is expensive, especially in rural areas. Civil engineering costs account for up to 80% of the cost of installing broadband networks and the Commission's draft Regulation could save between 40 and 60 billion euro or up to 30% of the total investment costs.

What does the draft Regulation mean for...

The Economy

Up to €60 billion could be saved on the overall cost of deploying fast broadband, leading to significant increases in GDP. A 10% growth in high-speed broadband take-up can lead to up to 1.5% in GDP growth.

The €60 billion in savings can then be invested in other areas of the economy, thus prompting further economic growth.

Single market

You cannot have different rules from one town to another if you wish to have a real single market. By cutting fragmentation in how broadband is planned and installed we are building up the single market.

By helping millions of Europeans to get access to high-speed broadband, we are making businesses more productive and driving demand for new services in the digital economy, such as high definition video conferencing, cloud computing, smart grids and transportation.

Consumers – Internet at the entrance door

Fast Internet comes to consumers??. Today's legislation ensures that new buildings must be ready for high-speed Internet. It is better to install mini-ducts to all premises in a building from day one of a building than to retrofit individual homes and offices with cables at a later stage. Each dwelling thus becomes high-speed-ready and any electronic communications provider can easily access any client.

Drivers

How many times have you seen slow construction or badly timed construction? We want to cut the experience of these blocked roads. With less digging there is less traffic disruption, service disruption and the environment is better protected.

People and businesses in rural and remote areas

Every European deserves access to the Internet. However, the high cost of building new broadband infrastructure and relatively low density of demand in isolated and remote places has sometimes deterred telecom companies from investing.

The Commission's proposed Regulation helps address this issue. It will give companies a better overview of existing infrastructure which could host high-speed Internet: electricity, gas, water and sewage, heating and transport infrastructures. It will also make it easier for operators to roll-out broadband networks through using these infrastructures.

The proposed Regulation will introduce better transparency as regards planned civil engineering works, especially when these works are publicly financed. It would then be easier for companies wanting to cooperate in their civil engineering projects to find a suitable partner.

The EU is working with Member States to reinforce and better target regional and other funding programmes to support broadband investment and to lower investment costs.

Local authorities, less paperwork

The Commission's proposals will enable better use of existing physical infrastructure, better coordination and greater synergies between civil engineering projects and the different authorities involved. Local authorities will need to issue fewer permits when companies choose to coordinate their works or share infrastructure.

More competition = lower prices

These draft EU rules will lower investment costs, meaning that more companies can roll-out broadband at a better price, increasing competition. This applies to alternative and incumbent operators –who will both be able to cut costs by installing broadband through existing infrastructure. For certain utility companies, sharing ducts could bring additional revenues, but also synergies in deploying smart grids.

Less digging - fewer accidents

More transparency will give a clearer picture of where existing infrastructure is helping to prevent accidents such as accidental damage to water, gas or electricity pipes and cables Cutting down on excavation-related damages to existing infrastructure could save up to €50 million per year.

More details of the four key areas of action in the Regulation

The proposed Regulation introduces the following rules:

Access to existing physical infrastructure: Every network operator has the right to offer, and an obligation to meet, all reasonable requests for access to its physical infrastructure in view of deploying elements of high-speed electronic communications networks, whether fixed or wireless. In order to enable access to physical infrastructure, any electronic communications networks provider will have the right to access, via a single information point, a set of minimum information concerning the existing physical infrastructure.

Coordination of civil works: Every network operator can negotiate agreements concerning coordination of civil works with companies or organisations authorised to provide electronic communications networks in view of deploying elements of high-speed broadband. In order to enable better coordination of works, any network operator shall make available on request minimum information concerning on-going or planned civil works related to its physical infrastructure.

Permit granting: Every electronic communications networks provider can access by electronic means via a single information point, any information concerning the conditions and procedures applicable for granting permits for civil works and submit its application electronically via the same single information point. The competent authorities shall grant or refuse permits within six months from receiving a request, unless there are specific deadlines applicable in accordance with national or EU law.

In-building equipment: All newly-constructed buildings and buildings undergoing major renovation shall be equipped with high-speed-ready in-building physical infrastructure, up to the network termination points. The cost of pre-equipping buildings at construction or major renovation phase is far outweighed by the cost reduction potential of avoiding retrofitting buildings with infrastructure. Every Internet provider shall have the right to terminate its network at a concentration point located inside or outside a building and shall have the right to access any existing high-speed-ready in-building physical infrastructure on reasonable terms.


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