CEOs propose internet reforms to meet EC speed targets, but threaten net neutrality

European broadband speed targets will be missed unless authorities introduce cost-saving measures and allow revenue-generating business models, according to a report from three communications company CEOs.

European broadband speed targets will be missed unless authorities introduce cost-saving measures and allow revenue-generating business models, according to a report from three communications company CEOs.

The European Commission has set targets for all European homes to have download speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020, with half receiving 100Mbps to enable countries in the European Union to catch up with nations with superfast broadband, such as Japan and the US.

But a report by the chief executives of Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom and Vivendi says meeting these targets will be impossible if authorities do not support 11 proposed reforms, according to the Financial Times.

The report, signed only by the three CEOs, is the result of a call by Neelie Kroes, Europe's commissioner for telecoms, to 40 companies in March to find a way to finance the internet.

Topping the list of cost-saving proposals is giving telecoms operators the right to insert fibre networks in underground ducts used by cable television companies and energy groups, which would eliminate the cost of laying new ducts.

Topping the list of business model proposals is allowing broadband operators to charge online content providers for delivering video material to consumers.

Broadband operators say they are committed to preserving the basic "best effort" internet, but feel they should be able to charge content providers for delivering high-quality video and other content.

This and other similar business models have been opposed in Europe by supporters of the principle of network neutrality that dictates all content should be treated equally.

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