EC seeks to unlock private investment

The European Commission has outlined its intention to drive broadband investment across member states by unlocking opportunities for private sector ventures rather than replacing them with its own funding.

Anna Krzyzanowska, head of the unit for Broadband Policy at the European Commission, said in a keynote speech at the Broadband World Forum that the region needs “visionary investment” as financial backing for broadband networks in Europe is lagging behind other regions in the world.

“There are many countries and regions in Europe that do not have fast networks or a good hope of getting these networks,” she said. “It would be difficult to imagine public funding could deliver enough investment to address these needs, so we expect the vast majority of it to come from the private sector.

She said that the European Investment Bank is weighing up a move to offer more substantial lending for infrastructure projects, broadband in particular, and that the EU is looking to offer more financing and predictability in its policies to drive private investment.

The idea is to build new networks that are not restricted and allow access to as many users as possible and measures to reduce the cost of broadband deployment, such as increased use of passive infrastructure suitable for high speed networks; increased cooperation in civil engineering works and streamlined permit granting procedures.

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