Poland voices EU fund concerns

21.50 Europe/London, October 17, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

PIKE 2011 – POZNAN. Poland has made mistakes in its rollout of broadband and needs to act now to ensure it uses its allocation of EU infrastructure funding by the end of 2015.
Setting the scene for a panel discussion on the construction of broadband networks in the country, Malgorzata Olszewska, the director of the Ministry of Infrastructure, said that the EU budget had earmarked PLN1.4 billion (€323.4 million) for Eastern Poland and other projects were also in the pipeline.
A total of 25,000km of fibre are to be built and public/private partnerships are required.
She also said the ministry is working on a national broadband plan and referred to new funding – the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – worth a total of €40 billion, of which €10 billion will for telecoms – that will be allocated to European countries in the period 2014-2020.
Providing a cable perspective, Janusz Kosinski, the president of INEA, criticised companies that were “standing on the side watching” rather than taking up European funds.
Vectra’s Bogdan Pruszkowski meanwhile said that his company, as a “classic” cable operator, was “either too big or too small” to participate in projects designed to bring broadband to hitherto unserved places (what are referred to ‘white spots’).
Anna Strezynska, the president of the Office of Ekectronic Communication (UKE), conceded that the rollout of broadband had suffered from lack of trust and coordination, as well as the poor timing of some projects.
A structure for administering the funds should have been put in place and now there is a big time constraint “that will make us work more with businesses, in various forms.”