Network operators urge EU not to cut proposed ICT funding

EU leaders to consider cutting funding at this week's summit

European telecom carriers on Wednesday urged European Union member states not to cut proposed funding for broadband and cross-border digital service infrastructure.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which has earmarked a ¬50 billion (US$67 billion) investment for transportation, energy and ICT between 2014 and 2020, will be debated by E.U. leaders on Thursday and Friday as they try to negotiate a budget package.

Current proposals by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy would see the overall CEF budget cut to around ¬40 billion. In a letter to Van Rompuy, ETNO (the European Telecommunications Network Operators' association) warned that a reduction in the proposed funding would be "a short-sighted decision."

CEF aims to speed up investment by telecom companies that at the moment may not have enough market incentive to invest, particularly where citizens do not yet have high-speed broadband access.

Under the original CEF plan, ¬9.2 billion was to go to ICT projects -- ¬7 billion to aid the deployment of fast and ultrafast broadband networks at speeds of 100M bps and above, and ¬2.2 billion for cross-border e-services such as eHealth, eSignatures, eProcurement, cybersecurity and Europeana (Europe's digital cultural archive). The European Commission, which first put forward the proposals in 2011, estimates that eProcurement alone could save up to ¬100 billion a year.

Although the e-services part of the proposals would be funded by direct grants, the money for broadband would be largely in the form of equity, debt or guarantees. The Commission estimates that each euro invested by the CEF could leverage between ¬6 and ¬15 of public and private investment by giving projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles.

"A full ¬9bn spent on broadband and cross-border digital service infrastructures would be money well spent. But we don't see it is as a competition with energy and transport -- all the elements of the proposal are valid. But we are realistic -- there will be a cut of some amount," said Commission Digital Agenda spokesman Ryan Heath.

He added that because the funding is backed by the European Investment Bank, national governments get back, with interest, the money they put into the CEF. "There is little short-term and no long-term financial gain in cutting this funding proposal," said Heath.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetbusiness issuestelecommunication

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?