The European Commission has outlined plans to boost investment in broadband services and work towards the targets in the EU's Digital Agenda adopted earlier this year. The EU targets access to basic broadband for all Europeans by 2013 and universal access to speeds of above 30 Mbps by 2020. The EC said it will work with the European Investment Bank to bring forward broadband finance instruments, with concrete proposals for new instruments to be unveiled by spring 2011.
The EIB already lends an average EUR 2 billion each year to broadband projects, including recent beneficiaries such as France's Iliad, the Finnish operator DNA and Portuguese cable operator Zon. The increased EIB involvement is expected to also support more lending for broadband projects form private banks. In addition, a communication adopted by the Commission gives a number of recommendations for EU member states to work on improving broadband access. These include adopting an operational broadband plan with concrete implementing measures including provisions for the necessary funding, encouraging regional and local authorities to better coordinate civial engineering works to support network roll-outs, promoting direct investment in infrastructure by public authorities in line with state aid rules, and stimulating the roll-out of broadband through better use of the EU's structural and rural development funds.