EC looks to reduce cost of broadband in Europe

Analysys Mason’s latest study for the European Commission (EC) investigates policy measures that could help reduce the cost of deploying high-speed broadband, and which therefore could support the achievement of the Digital Agenda for Europe targets.

All Member States of the European Union must provide universal coverage of broadband services with speeds of 30Mbit/s or greater, and ensure that 50 per cent of citizens subscribe to 100Mbit/s or faster services by 2020.  In order to meet both of these Digital Agenda targets, investment in new higher-speed broadband infrastructure is likely to be required in many Member States.

The EC commissioned Analysys Mason to carry out interviews with regulators and stakeholders, and develop case studies of the various cost-saving strategies being used across Europe. The study considers five potential measures that could be taken to reduce costs and administrative burdens:

•     a centralised atlas of passive infrastructure
•     mandated access to passive infrastructure
•     a one-stop-shop for rights of way and administrative procedures
•     a database in which all planned civil works must be published
•     an obligation to equip all new buildings with high-speed (100Mbit/s) Internet access, as well as mandated open access to the terminating segment.

A key finding from the study was that while all of these individual measures would most likely have positive results on coverage, some – such as the obligation to equip new buildings with high-speed infrastructure – could be relatively simple for each Member State to introduce, while others – such as a centralised atlas of passive infrastructure – could be expensive and difficult to implement.  However, many of these measures are interlinked, and could be implemented together, thus reducing costs, with the resulting initiative having a positive impact on those rolling out new infrastructure.

“It is widely accepted that civil works such as digging trenches account for up to 80 per cent of broadband deployment costs. By implementing measures that aim to reduce the amount of civil works required, e.g. by encouraging the sharing of existing passive infrastructure, it is likely that the overall cost of deploying new networks can be reduced,” explains Matt Yardley, Analysys Mason Partner and lead author of the study.

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