EC asks for help to cut costs of high-speed networks

The European Commission is asking for help on ways to cut the cost of setting up new networks for high-speed internet.

The European Commission is asking for help on ways to cut the cost of setting up new networks for high-speed internet.

The EC has opened a public consultation on the topic, seeking in particular ways to reduce the civil engineering costs of laying fibre, which typically make up 80% of the total.

The cost is so high because of a lack of coordination of civil engineering projects, insufficient re-use of existing infrastructure and lack of cooperation between the various actors, the EC said.

High-speed internet networks are a top priority for the EC, which claims that for every 10% increase in broadband penetration the economy grows by 1% to 1.5%.

The consultation calls for input from public and private parties including telecoms and utility companies, investors, public authorities and consumers on how to cut costs by 25%.

"We need to cut the engineering costs of rolling-out broadband networks if we want to spread faster broadband across Europe," said Neelie Kroes, EC vice president.

Kroes, who is responsible for the EC's Digital Agenda, said there is a need to test practical ideas on how to cut costs and make it easier to access, re-use and share this infrastructure.

"There is nothing more annoying for citizens than road-digging, and nothing more annoying to businesses than pointless red tape," she said.

The Digital Agenda sets targets of 100% broadband coverage by 2013 for all Europeans and speeds of 30Mbps for all, with at least 50% of European households subscribing to internet connections above 100Mbps by 2020.

The EC public consultation is seeking views on:

  • obstacles to invest in broadband infrastructure,
  • ways of improving the use of current infrastructure,
  • coordination of civil engineering works,
  • measures increasing coordination between authorities,
  • measures simplifying permit procedures,
  • readiness of new buildings for high-speed internet infrastructure.

The public consultation runs until 20 July 2012. The results will contribute to reducing the costs of investments and ultimately the final retail price of broadband, the EC said.

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