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EU wants to make copper broadband pricing consistent across EU
Monday 02 September 2013 09:56:01 by Andrew Ferguson

The EU has the goal that by 2020 it wants all of us no matter where we live in the European Union to have access to a 30 Mbps broadband connection and half of us to be buying a 100 Mbps service. To help with this medium term goal the EU is looking at how it can provide some regulatory certainty across the borders of the member states.

"Today’s guidance to regulators just doesn’t give businesses – old or new – the certainty they need to make investments. It’s time to change.

The sector needs more certainty to help it invest and grow. I want citizens to start enjoying the benefits of faster, next generation broadband networks.

In the absence of public funding to support better broadband, it’s vital that all companies have a stable and consistent system. That is how we can maximise investment and the infrastructure competition that encourages investment.

In our forthcoming legislative package we will be formalising a tighter set of the principles for encouraging investment. These principles were first outlined in July 2012. Now, after a year of intense collaboration with regulators we have refined them, and reached agreement. We are determined to deliver stable copper prices and fibre regulation that reflects market reality.

We need to lift price regulation of high-speed networks where it is not warranted, and make regulation of copper prices stable and consistent across the EU."

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes

This may be slightly cynical but does not keep talking about changing the rules introduce more regulatory uncertainty? Especially if as we suspect that any concrete changes will not emerge from the EU until around 2016 with the aim of kick starting the slow member states towards meeting the admirable target level.

The UK contrary to some voices is doing relatively well in terms of meeting the 30 Mbps for all target and if the retail price is right there is almost no doubt that half of us will be buying a 100 Mbps connection in seven years time, even now we have the best Next Generation Access coverage of the major EU countries and are investing serious amounts of money to improve this coverage. Admittedly not everyone agrees with the technology used or who the projects are partnering with and you can always do better.

If the EU does impose some formula across the EU for the price of copper based broadband (as in ADSL and ADSL2+, yes even the EU considers VDSL2 fibre broadband these days) it is difficult to see what operator will decide to invest billions to build a third local loop to compete with Openreach and Virgin Media as we have little doubt that any new entrant to the UK local loop market on a big scale will start in the large cities first.

Of course all of this might be mute, as if the Government plans do work out as planned, 95% of us will have access to superfast broadband in 2017, leaving around 1.5 million premises where more work is needed to hit the 2020 target.


Posted by fredforest over 3 years ago
Regulatory uncertainty is very relevant. Meeting new EU regulations does not happen over night and involve large projects to change IT systems.

I am currently monitoring a project that is going to meet regulations due to come into effect in 2014, it is very complicated. But even before we have finished planning there are rumblings from the EU that they are going to change that regulation and replace it with another. These are very tight timescales and rejigging will involve a lot of expense, the EU will not meet these expenses so they will ultimately fall to the consumer.
Posted by michaels_perry over 3 years ago
Seems to me that it reads like another excuse to increase prices for no real benefit to rural users. We get the worst service yet pay the same as those in suburban and urban areas and have no choice. It doesn't cost more to deliver as the copper is already there and has been for many years. Many rural exchanges are not even 21CN equipped yet so no ADSL2+, stuck with ADSL Max.
Posted by Shempz over 3 years ago
Yeah...UK Broadband doing really well! lmfao.

30mb for all. Yeah right, like that will ever happen. I live in the sticks, and squeeze the life out of my broadband, but only get 2.3mb
Posted by KarlAustin over 3 years ago
That link above isn't all that valid to this discussion which is about providing access to. People not choosing to take up faster speeds available to them is a different matter. When it comes to availability of "superfast" services the UK does quite well as already stated.
Posted by awoodland over 3 years ago
You meant moot, not mute in the final paragraph:,
Posted by zhango over 3 years ago
Many of us hope that the UK will not be in the EU in 2020
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