Broadband in Europe: investing in tomorrow’s technology today

29 October 2013 Author: EIFonline

On 15 October EIF members and friends gathered to assess the broadband situation in Europe.

Edit Herczog, MEP, EIF Governor and parliament's rapporteur on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks, chaired this debate. In her opening remarks Edit Herczog reviewed the current situation in Europe. She encouraged maximising synergies between different operators and owners of physical infrastructure to reduce the cost of deployment of electronic communication networks across Europe, and especially in rural areas. 

Listen to Edit Herczog’s full speech:  


Vittorio Vallero, Deputy Coordinator for Infrastructures and Access at Digital Agenda for Region Piedmont, then took the floor to present the success story of broadband deployment in Piedmont, a hilly and rural region in the northwest of Italy. Mr Vallero noted that the use of a wide range of wireless technologies, including satellite, is a fast solution to provide internet for all and tackle the problem of serving rural areas. Mr Vallero also offered advice for broadband deployment: set up a clear vision and actions for what has to be achieved,  create a clear monitoring system to evaluate progress, and balance the use of available technologies for broadband.

Listen to Vittorio Vallero’s full speech: 


Michael Garvey, Vice Chair of Buckinghamshire Business First, representing Digital Business First, followed to share a story from the UK. He presented the situation in Buckinghamshire, the second fastest growing local economy in the UK and the county’s entrepreneurship hub. The reality shows that local SMEs have to work under conditions of poor or no broadband connectivity and limited mobile service. He warned that this situation is leading to major productivity losses for local business. He called for rapid investment in ultra-fast broadband and mobile connectivity as it is no longer simply desirable but rather an essential technology.

Listen to Michael Garvey’s full speech: 


After hearing these stories from different parts of Europe, representatives from the European institutions commented on the broadband situation in Europe. Gábor Bihary from the Committee of the Regions noted that there is general support at regional level for the broadband deployment regulation. However he stressed the need to examine the threats, as it might cause digital exclusion for some social groups and local regions. 

Listen to Gábor Bihary’s full speech: 


Stefan Zotti, member of the Cabinet of Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, commented on investment policy. 

Listen to Stefan Zotti’s full speech: 


Anthony Whelan, acting director for Electronic Communications Networks and Services at DG CONNECT, European Commission, followed to comment on different funding options for broadband in Europe.

Listen to Anthony Whelan’s full speech: 


 

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