Innovation and changeDigital TransformationEuropean Commission endorses UK National Broadband Scheme

European Commission endorses UK National Broadband Scheme

The European Commission has found that the UK National Broadband Scheme for 2016-2020 complies with EU state aid rules.

The European Commission has found that the UK National Broadband Scheme for 2016-2020 complies with EU state aid rules.

The National Broadband Scheme for the UK for 2016-2020 aims to increase coverage of high speed broadband in the UK by deploying Next Generation Access networks (NGA), which can ensure speeds above 30 megabit per second.

The scheme will ensure roll-out of NGA broadband to as many UK homes and businesses as possible, in order to extend coverage as far as possible across the UK. It will be valid until 31 December 2020.

 

Non-discriminatory

The Commission’s state aid assessment, based on the 2013 Broadband Guidelines, aims to ensure, amongst other things, that public funding does not take the place of private investment. It also ensures that other service providers can use the publicly funded infrastructure on a non-discriminatory basis. This protects effective competition, which is a key driver for investment and better prices and quality for consumers and businesses.

In this context, the Commission has worked constructively with UK authorities and has concluded that the new UK broadband scheme complies with criteria under EU state aid rules:

  • Public money will be spent on underserved areas: The UK can fully fund the investment to roll-out NGA broadband in areas where no NGA infrastructure exists and where no private operator is willing to invest in such infrastructure without state aid in the next three years.
  • To further ensure that public investment does not crowd out private investment, detailed mapping and public consultation exercises will be carried out with interested private operators.
  • Fair chances for all bidders – big and small, regardless of technology: Aid will be awarded by way of tenders compliant with EU public procurement rules, respecting the principles of technological neutrality and also facilitating bids by smaller operators. This will ensure that the most advantageous offer is selected.
  • Fair access to subsidised infrastructure through open access tenders: All interested operators should be able to access the subsidised infrastructure on equal and non-discriminatory terms. Furthermore, various mechanisms are in place to prevent wholesale access prices from being excessive. This will allow several network operators to obtain wholesale access and use the subsidised infrastructure to compete on services to the end consumers. The increase in network capacity is expected to stimulate market entry by service providers and the provision of a greater variety of services.

The scheme is also accompanied by a detailed evaluation plan to assess the impact of the scheme, the results of which will be submitted to the Commission by December 2020.

Related Articles

Councils drive transformation with SaaS models

Cloud Computing Councils drive transformation with SaaS models

3y Jay Ashar
The need for balance in digitising public services

Digital Transformation The need for balance in digitising public services

3y Afshin Attari
Digital lags behind in healthcare: Deloitte report

Digital Skills Digital lags behind in healthcare: Deloitte report

3y Jay Ashar
Where are all the change managers delivering “digitisation”?

Change Management Where are all the change managers delivering “digitisation”?

3y Romy Hughes
Getting technology providers to partner for progress

Digital Transformation Getting technology providers to partner for progress

3y Neil Laycock
Driving change through place-based partnerships: Part Two

Digital Customer Service Driving change through place-based partnerships: Part Two

3y Austin Clark
Met Police bids to transform its digital capabilities

Digital Transformation Met Police bids to transform its digital capabilities

3y Jay Ashar
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to be self-made digital exemplar

Digital Transformation Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to be self-made digital exemplar

3y Jay Ashar