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EU says regulatory mess harming broadband investment

Monday, September 2nd 2013 by Hannah Langston
Neelie Kroes warns broadband investment is being harmed by regulatory systems

Communications companies are being put off investing in broadband networks due to current regulatory systems, according to the EU.

Investment in broadband is being hurt by the "regulatory mess" that exists across Europe, according to European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes.

At present, communications companies are faced with varied regulatory systems and charges in different EU nations, despite the Commission having spent years attempting to smooth over the situation.

This is putting companies off investing large sums in high-speed broadband networks and is also discouraging them from entering new markets on the grounds that their existing business models may not work, she explained.

As a result, Ms Kroes warned that Europe is "losing the global race" for fast broadband connectivity, with telecoms providers under-performing, businesses struggling for competitiveness and consumers stuck with slow speeds.

In order to tackle the issue, the EU is aiming to deliver more stable fibre optic network regulation and copper pricing. Currently, the fee for wholesale access to copper networks varies significantly from country to country, from €4 to €14 a month (£3.40 to £12) per line/subscriber.

"The sector needs more certainty to help it invest and grow," Ms Kroes commented. "I want citizens to start enjoying the benefits of faster, next-generation broadband networks."

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