On January 29, 2009, the Commission formally adopted a plan to give EUR 1 billion in subsidies for broadband facilities. In a press release entitled "Commission earmarks EUR 1 billion for investment in broadband - Frequently Asked Questions," the Commission identified its goal to achieve 100% high-speed internet coverage for all citizens by 2010 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan. The Commission said that on average, 93% of Europeans can enjoy a high speed online connection but in some countries broadband covers less than half of the rural population. It also says that broadband internet connection is expected to create 1 million jobs and boost the EU's economy by EUR 850 billion between 2006 and 2015. The new subsidies, however, are aimed only for rural areas, via the existing EU's Rural Development Fund to cover the "white spots" on Europe's broadband map (30% of the population in rural areas who do not have broadband access). As such, these subsidies will give funding to networks that would directly compete with satellite networks. The press release does make an important mention of satellite, however, when it says "The types of operations that can be supported are … Creation of new broadband infrastructure including backhaul facilities (e.g., fixed, terrestrial wireless, satellite-based or combination of technologies)…." MEMO/09/35 gives more details on internet broadband infrastructure subsidies, including some indication of the Member States that will receive the funding.
Broadband expansion appears to be governments' current hot topic. Following the signature of the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" on February 17, 2009 which allocates $7.2 billion for broadband infrastructure investments, the German government announced its broadband strategy on February 18, 2009. The program is part of Germany's stimulus package and aims at (i) providing nationwide broadband coverage by 2010, and (ii) enabling at least 75% of the population to access the Internet with 50MBit/s or more by 2014. The program is significantly funded from Federal and State resources and should bear a number of opportunities for network operators and service providers.