On Friday 28 February 2014, the member states' permanent representatives endorsed the compromise reached between the Council and the European Parliament concerning a directive which will make it easier and cheaper to roll out high-speed electronic communications networks, among other things by promoting the joint use of infrastructure, such as electricity, gas and sewage pipes.
Further to the obvious reduction in the cost of deployment (up to 25%), this directive aims to increase the performance of high-speed broadband networks. In addition, it will contribute to the establishment of a single market at EU level.
Moreover, this legislative initiative aims to simplify the existing legal framework, remove red tape, and resolve issues within building installations. It also aspires to facilitate synergies for benefiting more from building and employing infrastructure.
The single framework of rules for installation of high-speed networks will lift all obstacles hindering the single market. These obstacles are mostly due to the existing complex regulatory framework that blocks further development and growth of businesses. It also creates a negative impact on competitiveness, and discourages investment.
The Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michalis Chrisochoidis, stressed that: “This directive is expected to facilitate universal broadband coverage, enabling broadband deployment in remote or scarcely populated areas. As a result, more citizens will gain access to information society, and therefore, a considerable prerequisite for development will have been achieved. Moreover, this proposal utilizes resources that were so far neglected (e.g. power line networks), while suggesting better use of existing infrastructure by more networks. This will entail cost reduction and better broadband deployment.”
To enter into force, the text still needs to be formally approved by the Parliament, whose vote in plenary is expected to take place in April, and the Council, which is due to take its decision after the vote in Parliament.