European telcos release proposals regarding broadband

14 July 2011 |


Europe’s top telcos have released proposals to the EU Commission, including calls for more investment and better business models, in order to reach the EU’s ambitious broadband target.

Neelie Kroes, VP for the digital agenda at the European Commission called on leaders of Europe’s telcos to draw up proposals on how to meet the European broadband targets. The aim is for all EU citizens to have access to basic broadband by 2013, but the main challenge facing telcos is to reach internet coverage of 30Mbps or above for all Europeans by 2020, with over half subscribing to connections of 100Mbps or higher.

In reference to more funds, Kroes cited the €9.2 billion that is to be allocated by the Commission between 2014 and 2020 under the Connecting Europe Facility for broadband investment, which could in turn leverage €100 billion of private investment. But proposals drawn up to address the issues facing telcos by Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of Vivendi, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom and Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, suggest that it is the combination of more investment and refocussing funds that will secure the targets for 2020.

Among the proposals there were calls for a single binding European framework to create some unity across the region while still allowing for some local flexibility and promotion of more open and interoperable standards. There were also calls for regulators to not prevent telcos from charging online content providers for use of their networks.

Matthew Finnie, CTO at Interoute, explained how the issue of content in Europe is a contentious one: “Content providers use vast amounts of capacity to deliver their content to consumers and they have a right to make money from the services they distribute. Yet why should this right to make money from the services they provide be closed off to those that deliver the infrastructure behind the internet, which enables that very content to be distributed.”