FTTH Council welcomes EC guidelines

By Robert Briel
September 22, 2009

The FTTH Council Europe said it welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s guidelines on state aid rules for the public funding of broadband networks.

“Community guidelines for the application of state aid rules in relation to rapid deployment of broadband networks” outlines the rules and conditions on how public funding could be provided to build broadband networks in line with the EU state aid rules.

In the past, there have been questions raised about public funding by governments, on a local, regional or national level. The new guidelines should point out when government involvement is allowed. These rules exist to channel public funding to areas where private companies have no commercial incentives to invest.

“The role of the State is particularly important in driving the pace of fibre deployment, either by making the investments directly or as a partner with private investors. The Guidelines also cover circumstances where the State may act more indirectly to accelerate fibre-*to-the-home deployments by ensuring that facilitators such as passive infrastructure elements are available on terms which would allow operators to quickly deploy their networks,” said Karel Helsen, FTTH Council Europe President, in a statement.

The FTTH Council Europe believes that market forces should FTTH for the mass market; however the Council also recognises that certain geographic regions will not support FTTH commercially without some form of public intervention.