EU budget cut reduces broadband funding
EU funding for broadband projects in Europe have been severely cut for the period 2014-2020 following the council’s latest budget agreement.
A former proposal had been set for €9.2 billion for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which was designed to connect all of Europe, including rural areas, with a minimum of 30Mbps by 2020.
Broadband funding has now been reduced to €1 billion, which will be allocated largely to telemedicine and e-government services.
The FTTH Council Europe, which aims to accelerate the implementation of high-speed fibre networks worldwide, has been a strong supporter of the CEF and expressed its disappointment with the decision.
“The decision shows that there is still a lack of understanding of European Governments on the importance of future-proof broadband networks,” Karin Ahl, president of the FTTH Council Europe, told Capacity.
“The European Union has just missed an important chance to make the right decision, not only for the years to come but also, and more importantly, for the future of competitive Europe.”
Neelie Kroes, digital agenda commissioner of the CEF, said in a statement today that although there is clearly no funding for the project, she will not be giving up on her targets.
“Our 2020 targets, agreed by everybody, may be harder to reach but I will keep fighting, and I will support innovations that help roll out broadband to underserved areas,” she said.
The budget still awaits approval by the European parliament.