European Digital Agenda ‘is achievable’

The European Digital Agenda (EDA) targets are challenging but achievable according to an Analysys Mason report: ‘Policy orientations to reach the Digital Agenda.’

The report, commissioned by Telefónica and Telecom Italia, provides an overview of next-generation access (NGA) deployment and take-up in all European Union (EU) Member States, including forecasts to 2020.

The report suggests that the 30Mbit/s coverage target should be achievable throughout the EU with limited support; a mix of technologies can be deployed to achieve widespread take-up of 100Mbit/s services among households in most Member States, provided that investment conditions, investors’ perception and demand improve.

“Wireless networks will play an important role in delivering 30Mbit/s coverage especially in rural areas, and Member States that have not yet awarded the 800MHz spectrum should do so as soon as possible.” states Matt Yardley, Partner at Analysys Mason and one of the report’s authors.

He also states “Cable is the best option for delivering 100Mbit/s coverage quickly in those Member States where there is an existing cable footprint, since less effort is required to upgrade it. However, for widespread 100Mbit/s coverage across the EU, other competing technologies are necessary and will be deployed gradually at a speed that is very much dependent on the regulatory framework; non-cable NGAs cannot always be assumed to have a first-mover advantage.”

The report also stresses the importance of advanced FTTC solutions in delivering 100Mbit/s coverage in most European countries, and Yardley believes that “regulatory policies aimed at encouraging copper networks to be switched off would distort competition and would not be technologically neutral.”

The report suggests that the demand side provides the main impetus for NGA network deployment and that policy makers should therefore not overlook demand-side measures. “Public campaigns to increase awareness of the benefits of NGA for consumers and commercial flexibility for operators are both important factors in encouraging future investment,” Yardley concludes.

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