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White paper on EU broadband plan challenges and opportunities

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White paper on EU broadband plan challenges and opportunities

The value of ubiquitous high-speed broadband connectivity has been demonstrated in numerous socio-economic studies. Policy makers agree that there is a need for co-ordinated long-term investment to realise this potential. The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) is the organising structure for EU Member States. It includes ambitious targets for broadband coverage for 2020 and 2025 supported by various policy (e.g. Broadband EU Cost Reduction Directive) and regulatory (e.g. re-use of existing ducts and poles) measures.

Despite these efforts, many EU countries are far from achieving the 2020 target of universal 30Mbit/s coverage, and the 2025 targets will be even harder to meet. Failure to hit these targets is likely to mean that the socio-economic gains and digital inclusivity benefits that are associated with ubiquitous high-speed broadband coverage may not be fully realised. The emerging ‘digital divide’ needs to be addressed, but the shortage of funds for major infrastructure projects is a significant problem.