On 1 June 2012, the Commission announced it is inviting comments by 3 September 2012 on the application of EU State aid rules to the public funding of broadband networks. Key to this discussion is how to adapt the current guidelines to the objective of the EU Digital Agenda. In line with the Commission’s State aid modernisation initiative (see article above), the proposed changes aim to facilitate well-designed aid targeted at market failures and the objectives of the Europe 2020 growth strategy, streamlining rules and taking faster decisions. The revised Guidelines propose the possibility of supporting ultra-fast broadband networks in certain circumstances; increasing transparency by requiring Member States to publish information on broadband schemes receiving State aid; and to focus investments on passive infrastructure which can be expensive and is not directly related to transmitting services such as ducts or dark fibre. In relation to this last proposal, it is hoped that by financing passive infrastructure, this will allow other service providers to enter the market and increase competition thereby reducing prices for consumers. The Commission hopes to adopt the Broadband Guidelines in December 2012. Read more.
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Broadband networks: European Commission consults on draft guidelines for broadband networks
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Senior Patent Counsel
Royal DSM NV