Commission launches public consultation to gather views on improving fast broadband network rollout

Today, the Commission opened a public consultation, as part of the review of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive, to collect views, until 2 March 2021, on incentivising the rollout of fast broadband networks, including fibre and 5G. The Directive, introduced in 2014, aims to enable fast electronic communications networks for people across the EU by reducing the related costs. However, in the light of technological, market and regulatory developments, and in view of deploying very high-speed broadband, these rules need to be updated. In addition to enabling a quicker and more efficient rollout of very high-capacity networks, including fibre and 5G, the review will ensure that the rules are aligned with the new EU telecoms rules (the European Electronic Communications Code) and explore potential environmental safeguards. Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Faster, better and more secure connectivity has become essential for all of us to work, learn, do business, innovate and interact. The sustainable deployment of fibre, 5G and other fast networks should not be delayed by administrative hurdles or by the inability to exploit synergies with infrastructures which already exist. I am looking forward to hearing the views from EU citizens, industry and civil society on how we should improve our legislation so that together we help equip Europe with the foundation for next generation technologies.” The recent Recommendation of the Commission on Connectivity called Member States to boost investment in fibre and 5G networks and to agree by March 2021 on a toolbox of best practices for the timely rollout of fixed and mobile very high-capacity networks, including in those areas covered by the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive. Fast and reliable network availability is also in line with the European Electronic Communication Code, which Member States must transpose into national law by 21 December 2020. More information is available here.