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New handbook on EU broadband state aid

May 8, 2014 | News

(08 May 2014) – Today the Commission publishes a new handbook useful for any public authority investing in broadband or looking at co-funding projects with EU structural and investment funds.

Today’s handbook explains how to design a good project from the start and whom to contact at regional and EU level to obtain funding and advice. It also outlines the minimum conditions for state aid approval. The guide suggests how to choose appropriate technology for broadband deployment and a business model. Here are some examples:

  • Bottom-up (or local community) model. This approach focuses on a group of end users of a particular area organising themselves into a jointly-owned and democratically controlled group. Such a group could be organized as a co-operative, for example. The group would oversee the contract to build and operate the own local network. One project in the Netherlands helped 7,500 homes get fibre network.
  • Public design, build and operate model. The network is owned and operated without any private sector assistance. A public organisation or a public sector operating company may operate the entire network, or may only operate the wholesale layer (with private operators offering retail services). One project in Lithuania aims at improving access to broadband in rural areas, bringing coverage to 98% of the area. It helps eliminating the digital divide, increasing social cohesion and contributing to economic growth with a more competitive rural sector.

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