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Neelie Kroes calls for operators to help release €9bn of funding
Tuesday 09 October 2012 18:09:18 by Andrew Ferguson

While we have all got very excited about the prospect of more EU money to help fund further broadband improvements in the UK, particularly in the period 2015 to 2020, it seems the availability and release of the €9.2bn from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) budget of €50bn is not a foregone conclusion.

Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda last week highlighted that she needs the help of the telecoms operators and lobbyists to ensure that the funds are released for broadband projects and not re-purposed for other infrastructure projects such as energy and transport infrastructure.

Concerns that the amount available might shrink were raised in September and it seems pressure on the funds has not diminished. A major issue is that many politicians do not understand the reasons why some are so passionate about improving broadband access for all residents and businesses in the EU. The problem is often that as broadband is such a young type of infrastructure the century or so of lobbying that has meant people understand benefits from road/rail and power infrastructure has not entered into the broadband lobbying language yet.

"Those Governments that adopt a more holistic view of society and the benefits that spread across the economy will realise the importance of maintaining the CEF for network build. We very much need to build communication networks for the future that look beyond the next quarter’s returns and that can put Europe on the front foot for economic growth and innovation."

Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe

Areas such as telemedicine are starting to show their potential in terms of reducing healthcare costs while also improving the quality of life of an increasingly ageing population, and if European manufacturers of hardware and software can find a ready market close to home, the chances of the industry leading the world rather than just being an ideas factory increase.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
The Lords seemed to get the gist of it. Now we need the commons to get IT too. How do we educate our MPs when most get their emails passed to them on dead trees?
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Au contraire! Their Lordships failed us miserably, producing a report largely written by academics and consultants, most of whom seemed sadly lacking in the practical application of the subject matter in which they claimed expertise, and still less in economics.

Thank goodness their influence is limited or we really would be in trouble! We need policy informed by facts and evidence, not by the whims and dogma of those with time on their hands whose opinions are not troubled by reality.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Back on-topic, perhaps the illustrious commissioner should try to "re-purpose" some of the common agricultural policy budget into investments like these that might actually stimulate growth, benefit the economy and not just uncompetitive farmers. I'm told nearly alf the total EU budget is wasted on farming at present, why not use it for something that is economically productive nstead?
Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
Because we need internetz more then food?
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
If you think the French will give up farm subsidies for a bit of broadband you are very much mistaken. CAP reform is long overdue, I'm sure there was a promise of reform when we gave up part of the rebate. Not that it ever happened and I doubt it will either.
Posted by mervl over 4 years ago
So what would you give up for better internet? Not sure that I, as an older person, like Andrew's vision of a world in which we can do without heating (or even eating) or the company of real people (requiring physical travel) tho' I like the idea of virtual doctors (they can't be more useless than the real ones), because we've got superfast broadband. Has he (or the BBC reporter)tried it?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Note not saying that we should not have heating or food, but that broadband is important, and can help reduce costs for those other areas.

On telemedicine, the video conferencing, home robot and usual blood pressure stuff yes.

If a video conf call means I can discuss and show doctor without neeed to catch a cold in the surgery and use less transport then that is good.
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