The FTTH Council Europe has welcomed the announcement of the French government that it is to invest €20 billion into ultra-fast broadband infrastructure with a special focus on future-proof fibre in the coming years.
Two weeks ago the European Union government decided to reduce the broadband budget in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) from €9 billion to €1 billion. According to Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe, in doing so, they missed an opportunity to make a strong statement towards the importance of broadband and of the Digital Agenda in Europe. “By reducing the CEF budget, the European governments also took the individual responsibility to ensure a positive investment framework for future-proof fibre broadband in their countries. With François Hollande’s announcement on Wednesday, France made a clear statement that it is willing to take this responsibility. The FTTH Council Europe welcomes this decision and hopes that other EU countries will follow the example of France very soon,” she stated.
Speaking at the FTTH Conference 2013 on February 20, Ahl stressed the importance of the correct policy being adopted. “Countries are choosing to be FTTH or FTTC (in the Olympics that would mean gold or silver) and policy makers can and will continue to affect that business decision. Operators do not need an affirmation by policy makers of what could happen anyway. If there are to be policy interventions, then surely they must be about delivering a longer-term vision that supports the needs of Europe, not necessarily in terms of the telecom sector per se, but rather in terms of broader economic and societal needs. We are actively working to try to drive some of these issues but changing the ingrained short-termism of some operators and governments is a major challenge. We need to address this!”