The European Commission (EC) has announced the launch of a €500m fund that will be devoted to enhancing broadband quality throughout Europe.
Though the UK public earlier this year voted in favour of leaving the EU, the UK will still remain a member of the union until two years after Article 50 is triggered. This means that, for the time being at least, the UK will be able to utilise this pot of money to enhance its own broadband set-up.
The money is being put at the disposal of EU member states in a bid to ensure all homes can access a 30Mbps broadband connection by 2020 – though many countries are aiming to reach, and expect to achieve, far superior connection speeds by that deadline.
However, while the €500m pot will undoubtedly be of some assistance to a number of countries within the EU, it is only a tiny fraction of the huge sum required to completely overhaul the European Union’s broadband services: back in 2011, the EC stated that it believes around €500bn will be required to reach their 2020 goal. It is anticipated that the remainder of the necessary funding – equating to around €450bn – will come from the member states themselves, and also courtesy of private investment from businesses.
The initial batch of funding is set to come from the EIB (European Investment Bank) and three National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs). Additional funding may be available at a later date to help member states reach a 2025 target that will see all homes have broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps, and many business areas – to be known as ‘gigabit cities’ – have access to speeds in excess of 1Gbps+.
The UK will not be part of the 2025 proposal, as it is incredibly likely that it will by then have officially left the EU. However, this by no means means that the UK’s service providers will refrain from enhancing their networks going forward.
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