Deploying High-Speed Broadband a Challenge in Europe

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A new study investigates measures being considered to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed broadband in Europe – and says none is perfect.

In its report, Analysys Mason say these measures would likely have positive results on coverage, but could be expensive and difficult to implement.

All member states of the European Union must provide universal coverage of broadband services with speeds of 30Mbit/s or greater, and they must ensure that 50 percent of citizens subscribe to 100Mbit/s or faster services, by 2020. 

To meet both of these Digital Agenda targets, investment in new higher-speed broadband infrastructure is likely to be required in many member states.

Analysys Mason interviewed regulators and stakeholders to study cost-saving strategies used across Europe.

In the study, five potential measures were considered, including a centralized atlas of passive infrastructure; mandated access to passive infrastructure; a one-stop-shop for rights of way and administrative procedures; a database in which all planned civil works must be published and an obligation to equip all new buildings with high-speed Internet access; as well as mandated open access to the terminating segment.

Some of the measures could be simple to introduce, such as equip new buildings with high-speed infrastructure, while others seem much more complicated — for example, a centralized atlas of passive infrastructure.

“It is widely accepted that civil works such as digging trenches account for up to 80 percent of broadband deployment costs," said Matt Yardley, Analysys Mason partner and lead author of the study.

"By implementing measures that aim to reduce the amount of civil works required, e.g. by encouraging the sharing of existing passive infrastructure, it is likely that the overall cost of deploying new networks can be reduced," he added.

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