Views on broadband networks deployment sought

The Commission launched last week a public consultation inviting Member States and other stakeholders to provide their views and comments on the existing EU State aid rules on public support for the deployment of broadband networks, the EU press service reported.

The consultation is part of an overall evaluation by the Commission of the relevant rules with a view to assess whether they are still fit or they need to be updated in light of recent technological and market developments. All interested parties can respond until 5 January 2021.

“Europe's digital transformation depends on high quality networks. These are crucial for connecting the regions in the EU, and contribute to a more competitive and sustainable social market economy. The public consultation will help the Commission assess whether the existing State aid rules on public support for the deployment of broadband networks are still fit for purpose and are equipped to meet the challenges of Europe's digital future,” said Executive VP Margrethe Vestager.

The 2013 Broadband State aid Guidelines enable Member States to provide support for the deployment of broadband networks, subject to certain conditions. In particular, they allow for public investments where a market failure exists and where these investments bring a significant improvement to the market in terms of service availability, capacity, speeds and competition.

At the same time, the Guidelines also aim at protecting private investments by providing that no public intervention can take place where private operators have invested or credibly plan to invest and by fostering fair competition through competitive selection procedures, technological neutrality and open access requirements for the benefit of all European citizens and businesses.

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