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The future of broadband policy : public targets and private investment

Author(s): BRIGLAUER Wolfgang, CAMBINI Carlo, CAVE Martin, PARCU Pier Luigi, ROSSI MARIA Alessandra, SILVESTRI Virginia, VALLETTI Tommaso

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Internet and its connected innovative technologies are fostering the digital economy and society, one of the main objectives of the European Union and by consequence of the new European Commission. In fact, the deployment of New Generation Networks to ensure specific targets in terms of availability and adoption of fast and high quality Internet connections for European households is one of the main pillars of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) 2020. In spite of the relatively wide set of policy tools put in place at the European and national level, profound differences in terms of broadband coverage and adoption do however persist across member States. These disparities have largely contributed to a feeling of dissatisfaction for the level of investment in broadband networks in Europe. Partly as a response to this view, the European Commission opened a public consultation to assess the need for broadband speed and quality beyond 2020. Following the questions posed by the consultation, this Report intends to focus on targets, i.e. the meta-instrument that precedes the implementation of more traditional policy instruments, such as national plans, sector-specific regulation, competition policy and direct public intervention. In particular, the Report aims at exploring the impact of setting future targets for ultra-fast broadband, also considering the opportunity, and the risks, of formulating targets that specifically favour higher performing technological solutions, i.e. FTTH, which enables connection speeds well above 100 Mbps, over others, i.e. cable, copper, wireless technologies or a mix of them.