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Actions to reduce the installation costs of high-speed digital networks

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Actions to reduce the installation costs of high-speed digital networks

This EU directive aims to make it easier and cheaper to roll out high-speed electronic communications networks (i.e. fast broadband Internet).

ACT

Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks.

SUMMARY

The aim of the directive is to facilitate and promote the roll-out of high-speed digital networks (i.e. fast broadband Internet). The major obstacle here is a financial one, as the installation costs of the infrastructure account for up to 80 % of the total costs (e.g. digging up roads to lay down fibre broadband).

Broadly speaking, two approaches are offered:

promote the reuse of existing physical infrastructure, and

create the conditions for more efficient installation of new physical infrastructure .

The main pillars of the directive are as follows.

1

Access to physical infrastructure

EU countries have to remove all legal obstacles that may hold back network operators from giving telecoms operators access to their physical infrastructure. Network operators are required to give access to their physical infrastructure, on reasonable terms and conditions, including price.

As per the directive, network operators are providers of public communications networks, but also utilities, be it for energy, public heating, water, waste water or transport.

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2. Coordination of construction work

EU countries have to remove all legal obstacles that may hold back network operators from negotiating agreements with telecoms operators in order to coordinate their construction work. If this work is financed from the public purse, network operators have to meet any reasonable and timely request for coordination as long the extra cost is paid by the telecoms operator. In this case, network operators maintain control over the work.

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3. Transparency

In order to improve coordination, EU countries must ensure that the undertakings deploying broadband have access to a minimum amount of information about the existing physical infrastructure, such as:

location,

type/use of infrastructure,

a single information point.

Providing such information will ensure that the costs of these projects are kept to a minimum (for example by accessing physical infrastructure that already exists and by coordinating engineering works). This access may be limited for the following reasons:

security of the networks and their integrity,

national security,

public health or safety,

confidentiality or business secrets.

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4. Permit granting

EU countries have to ensure that all procedures for granting permits must be available via a single information point (preferably by electronic means). Permit decisions should be made within 4 months and any refusal to grant a permit should be fully justified.

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Buildings ready to access high-speed networks

New buildings and major renovations must be equipped with physical infrastructure (such as mini-ducts) capable of hosting high-speed networks. Constructions must have an access point, easily accessible by the providers of public communications networks. This has to be done in a technology-neutral way (i.e. the infrastructure should neither require nor assume a particular technology). Exemptions are possible (for example for monuments or holiday houses).

The providers must have the right to reach the access point under fair and non-discriminatory terms and conditions.

EU countries must put in place out-of-court procedures for the timely resolution of disputes arising from the application of the directive.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2014/61/EU

12.6.2014

1.1.2016 (EU countries must apply most measures from 1.7.2016)

OJ L 155, 23.5.2014, pp. 1-14.

Last updated: 01.08.2014

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