New rules proposed to cut broadband installation costs in the EU

The European Commission presented a draft regulation aimed at cutting by 30% the cost of rolling out high-speed Internet. The new rules leave organisational issues very much to the discretion of member states.

The European Commission presented a draft regulation with the aim at cutting broadband installation costs. This draft builds on best practices in place today in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. According to the Commission, 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. In December 2012, the Commission announced the allocation of €50 million from the EU funds for research to deliver 5G mobile technology by 2020.

In particular, the Commission proposes this new regulation to ensure that new or renovated buildings are high-speed-broadband-ready. Also, to open 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.

The Commission wants to end insufficient coordination of civil works, by enabling any network operator to negotiate agreements with other infrastructure providers. Finally, the Commission stressed that the new rules will intent to simplify 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.