The past weekend’s top-level European summit managed to trim the European Union’s future budgets for the period 2014-2020. One segment to suffer is the amount allocated towards encouraging broadband deployments around Europe.
This had previously been budgeted at €9.2 billion (allocated to the “digital economy”) as part of the Connecting Europe Facility.
This has now been significantly trimmed to around €1 billion which will now be spent on specific services such as e-government and telemedicine. The budget still has to be approved by the European Parliament, and there are some questions as to whether it will approve the cuts.
Originally, €7 billion of the €9.2 billion was to be provided to help underwrite the costs of providing broadband in underserved areas.
EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, responsible for the EU’s Digital Agenda, admitted that the decision represented a “missed opportunity”, but said her department would be looking for other ways to support the funding of new networks. This could include help from the European Investment Bank.