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EP Hearing: Delivering Broadband to EU regions

ETNO Executive Board Chairman, Luigi Gambardella, spoke at a EP hearing hosted by Patrizia Toia, MEP on "delivering broadband to EU regions".

Internet for all: delivering broadband to the EU regions

Delivering high speed broadband to all, including in remote and rural areas, is a key challenge for public authorities and industry that is vital for the achievement of the Digital Agenda objectives, said Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Executive Board Chairman, at a hearing today hosted by Patrizia Toia, MEP on the theme “Internet for all: delivering broadband to the EU regions”.

Main highlights of the speech of  Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Executive Board Chairman: 

  • Given the key importance of High speed Internet, this is not any more a nice thing to have. Broadband is now embedded in our everyday lives. It is radically changing the way we work, spend leisure, receive healthcare or education and interact with authorities. It is therefore essential that all citizens are able to participate in the digital age;

  • As leading e-communications operators in Europe, ETNO member companies already account for two thirds of total high speed broadband deployment. Through their massive investment they have contributed to bring current generation broadband to up to 94% of total population and to 80 % of the population in rural areas;

  • Through public-private partnerships, ETNO members throughout the EU and beyond actively contribute to bring high speed connectivity to populations in non-densely inhabited areas, thereby bridging the digital divide. Through a mix of platforms and technologies, ETNO members do not only enable citizens in rural areas to access the Internet but also to benefit from new innovative services such as teleworking or e-health applications;

  • There is no one size fits all solution. These cooperation models should be driven by market needs and best reflect the local realities. The size of the investment required in NGA in Europe is estimated by the EU Commission at up to 58 billion euros to achieve the 30Mbps coverage and up to 268 billion euros to achieve 50% take-up of households at 100Mbps;

  • The scale of the required investment requires a balance between private contribution and EU and member states’ funds which should be carefully targeted to complement and not to crowd-out private investment. The role of public authorities and regions in particular to achieve the digital agenda targets also goes beyond the deployment of networks. They can also help to stimulate take up of high speed networks by consumers and therefore increase business case for risky investment.

Read full speech 

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