It is estimated that just a 10% increase in broadband take-up could result in between 0.9% and 1.5% increase in GDP growth. Universally available, fast and reliable telecom network infrastructures are and will increasingly be a precondition to efficient communication in business and social environments; it is also underpinning innovation and further increases in the overall productivity of the economy.
By 2020, Europe will see the emergence of a new generation of services and technologies in areas such as cloud computing, Internet of things (machine-to-machine communication), smart cities, smart grids, e-Health applications, e-Government, high-definition and interactive audio-visual services, etc. All these services will require high-speed connectivity, for the processing power of "big data" and storage capacity will increasingly be "in the net". In addition, the simultaneous use by households or business of different terminals (PC, tablets, smartphones, connected TV, smart boxes, sensors, etc.) and multi-media, interactive and high-definition applications will substantially increase demand for bandwidth above 30 Mbps.
Ensuring access to this critical infrastructure – the so-called Next Generation Networks (NGN) - is therefore essential not just for the development of a digital economy but also for stimulating social and economic cohesion, i.e. ensuring that there will not be a "digital divide", but rather harnessing ICT capacity to bring down barriers between urban and rural areas, central and periphery, or between social groups or generations. For these reasons, the Digital Agenda for Europe foresees that:
(i) by the end of 2013, basic broadband should be available to all Europeans,
(ii) by 2020, all Europeans should have access to much higher Internet speeds of above 30 Mbps
(iii) by 2020, at least 50% of European households should subscribe to Internet connections above 100 Mbps.
While it is expected that most of the investments necessary for the NGN will be made by telecom operators, European Structural and Investment Funds and other national public funding can also support and accelerate this deployment in all Member States and Regions, notably in areas of market failure
High-quality and high-speed internet access vital to achieve a Digital Single Market. The Commission published the first results of two public consultations, one on Europeans' broadband needs and the other focusing on the review of current EU telecoms rules.
Guide to Broadband Investment: this document sets out best practice examples in planning an investment of public funds in broadband projects.
Broadband - Delivering next generation access through PPP: This publication has been prepared for the benefit of the European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC) members (European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission, Member States of the European Union, Candidate States and certain other states) to facilitate the sharing of experiences in the field of public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Mapping of Broadband Infrastructures and Services (on-going study)
EU Regulation on Measures to Reduce the Cost of Deploying High-speed Networks (Commission proposal to the European Parliament and Council)
Broadbandforall a webpage with information from the European Satellite Operators Association on satellite based broadband solutions.
Information on how to design voucher schemes for satellite broadband, developed by the European Satellite Operators Association
Presentation of the five winners of the broadband awards. Five winners of 48 projects competiting for the first edition of the European Broadband Awards for the best European Broadband projects . The 5 winning projects are from Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.