• 29-NOV-2013

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

MEPs Want Broadband Access for all EU Citizens

Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament won a crucial vote for equality of access to broadband internet, thanks to the work of S&D MEP Edit Herczog, the Parliament's lead negotiator on the regulation 'Measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks'.

Edit Herczog, said:

"All our rural development initiatives in the EU will be wasted if we don't manage to bring high-speed internet to all our towns and villages. Without it, rural Europeans will become second-class citizens without access to jobs, information, services or even to education. Nowadays if you are cut off from the web, you are cut off from society."My report aims at reducing the cost of rolling out broadband by reducing inefficiencies and exploiting synergies across networks. In these times of austerity, this does not have to be costly, but can be just a smart way to build new infrastructure by sharing the cost between several sectors. This can include not just electronic providers but also the owners of physical infrastructure suitable for hosting electronic communications networks, such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, heating and transport services. It would simply mean a special focus on increased co-ordination and transparency, and harmonising minimum tools."

Access to infrastructure information

Broadband firms would have the right to access "promptly", via a single information point, at least information on the location, route, size, type and current use, name of owner and a contact point for existing infrastructure. Similar information would be available about infrastructure work that is planned and under way.
Access to this information should be denied only if security or fundamental public or individual interests are at risk.

"Broadband-ready" label

All newly-constructed public buildings and public multi-dwelling buildings, including social housing, should be equipped with in-house infrastructure ready for broadband connection. The same rules would apply for buildings that undergo major renovation works. MEPs also want an EU-wide "broadband-ready label" to be used, on a voluntary basis, for buildings and apartments with access to high-speed in-house broadband infrastructure.

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