EU budget cuts could hit broadband delivery target

News 12 Feb, 2013

Neelie Kroes warns 3.3 per cent cut to seven-year budget will make European broadband aims harder to meet.

The decision to slash the EU’s seven-year budget by 3.3 per cent will make the Union’s broadband target harder to reach, it has been claimed.

The move was announced on Friday, following 26-hours’ of negotiations, and is the first budget cut to blight the EU in its history.

It will result in €32 billion being wiped from its seven-year budget, while the amount set aside to support the EU’s broadband plans will shrink from €9.2 billion to €1 billion.

Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, said the reduction will make its aim to provide 30Mbps broadband to all EU citizens by 2020 difficult to attain.

“Nonetheless, we have all agreed on broadband targets for Europe [and] those agreed objectives are now harder to reach, but we should stay focused on that goal,” she added.

“I will keep fighting, and I will support innovations that help roll out fast broadband to under-served areas.”

She then goes on to ask EU member states for additional support in reaching its broadband target, adding that a failure to do so could have dire consequences for all involved.

“I am ready to work and fight even harder, to develop a more favourable European market for investment in broadband, fixed and wireless,” she wrote.

“If [member states] do not support that wider policy agenda, national governments will not achieve their own ambitions on broadband and the digital divide.

“They will face far more pressure to set up their own support schemes in areas where the market alone will act; and we risk not being able to build a connected, competitive continent,” Kroes concluded.