FTTH Council Europe supports EC guidelines on state aid rules for broadband funding
SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 -- The council says it recognizes that certain geographic regions will not support FTTH commercially without some form of public intervention.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 -- The FTTH Council Europe has announced that it "welcomes" the publication of the European Commission’s guidelines on state aid rules for the public funding of broadband networks.
"Community guidelines for the application of state aid rules in relation to rapid deployment of broadband networks" outlines the rules and conditions on how public funding could be provided to build broadband networks in line with the European Union state aid rules. The rules exist to channel public funding to areas where private companies have no commercial incentives to invest.
The council believes the fact that the commission felt it was necessary to publish these guidelines and the emphasis it places on fiber networks reaffirms the importance of moving Europe quickly to FTTH technology and indicates that public finance will factor into achieving that objective.
"The role of the State is particularly important in driving the pace of fiber deployment, either by making the investments directly or as a partner with private investors. The guidelines also cover circumstances where the State may act more indirectly to accelerate fiber-to-the-home deployments by ensuring that facilitators such as passive infrastructure elements are available on terms which would allow operators to quickly deploy their networks," says Karel Helsen, FTTH Council Europe president.
The FTTH Council Europe believes that market forces should deliver FTTH for the mass market; however, the council says it also recognizes that certain geographic regions will not support FTTH commercially without some form of public intervention.
Local governments and municipalities will play an important role in moving Europe toward a fiber future, claims the council. The publication of the state aid guidelines provides a necessary clarification of the rules surrounding public finance, which should facilitate more active participation by the public sector in achieving widespread FTTH deployment across Europe.
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