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Broadband Gap Policy

14 September 2009
by inadim -- last modified 15 September 2009

Broadband gap policy is concerned with the geographical aspects of the digital divide among EU regions. This policy seeks to bridge the gap of access, speed, quality of service and price in broadband between urban and rural/remote areas. The European Commission aims to achieve 100 % high-speed internet coverage for all citizens by 2010 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan.


COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 473/2009 on Rural Development on the use of 1.020 Million Euro in the Recovery Plan to bring broadband in rural areas

Consultation on the state aid rules on the Commission's Broadband Guidelines on the application of EU state aid rules to public funding of broadband networks was open until 22 June 2009.

1.02 bn € for broadband

The European leaders allocated 1.02 bn € for broadband through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) on 20 March 2009.

European Council Press Release

Target of 100% broadband coverage

The European Council has also agreed on to achieve 100% broadband coverage in the EU by 2010-2013: Key Issues Paper 2009 - contribution from the Competitiveness Council to the Spring European Council: EU 100% Broadband Coverage Target set for 2010-2013

European Commission proposals

This way the EU Member States endorsed the proposals of the European Commission, which in January 2009 proposed to earmark € 1 billion to help rural areas get online, bring new jobs and help businesses grow.

Furthermore, in March 2009 the Commission outlined how it would use its own support programmes to boost internet networks and services in rural areas, and called on EU Member States to do the same. Connecting the 30% of the EU's rural population that has no high speed internet access should be a priority for achieving 'broadband for all' by 2010.

The EU’s regulatory framework for electronic communications (today’s EU telecom rules) aims at stimulating competition and therefore investment and innovation while increasing consumers’ choice.

The Commission’s work on coordinating spectrum policy in Europe may also facilitate the development of wireless broadband services, which are particularly suitable for remote and rural areas.

The 2006 Communication “Bridging the broadband gap” represented a strong commitment to providing broadband to all Europeans. It recommended the use of all possible policy, budgetary and regulatory instruments, including EU information society policy and telecom rules, state aid rules and EU structural and rural funds.

The Communication identifies the exchange of best practices and the strengthening of synergies among relevant EU policies as main avenues for action for the delivery of broadband to rural, remote and less developed regions of the European Union.

The Commission has also long been encouraging EU Member States to adopt and implement national broadband strategies (COM 2004 369 and Annex: Staff working paper, SEC 2004 599) to stimulate the supply and the demand side of the market whenever identified as a national priority.

Source: European Commission

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