support of the European Commission priorities: high-speed networks, civil engineering works, joint use of existing infrastructure and enabling more efficient deployment of new physical infrastructure so that such networks can be rolled out at lower cost;
stress the importance of adopting rationalisation and modernisation measures and cutting back red tape as a priority course of action for reducing costs;
highlight the importance of the involvement of the local and regional authorities in projects for financing digital infrastructure in areas considered unprofitable by private operators
The opinion on "Reducing the costs of deploying broadband" notes that high-speed broadband infrastructure is a pillar of the digital single market and a prerequisite for global competitiveness, for example in the field of e-commerce. As the communication on the Single Market Act II points out, a 10% increase in broadband penetration could boost GDP by 1-1.5% a year and labour productivity by 1.5% . At the same time, broadband-induced innovation in companies creates employment and has the potential to generate 2 million extra jobs by 2020.
Amendments No 1, 2, 3 of the opinion are included in the ITRE Committee draft report of 03/09/2013.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- takes note of the European Commission's proposal, published on 26 March 2013, for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks, as part of the ten-point plan announced in conjunction with the mid-term review of the Digital Agenda for Europe;
- welcomes the priorities outlined in the Commission's proposal: high-speed networks, civil engineering works, joint use of existing infrastructure and enabling more efficient deployment of new physical infrastructure so that such networks can be rolled out at lower cost, reducing administrative burdens, and cutting red tape; all of these are areas in which cities and regions are not only stakeholders, but also service providers and beneficiaries;
- has already stressed that adopting rationalisation and modernisation measures and cutting back red tape as a priority course of action for reducing costs, as well as rationalising and simplifying administrative procedures and services, would boost economic activity, reduce bureaucratic procedures and formalities, facilitate relations between individuals and the administration, help bring down the administrative costs of doing business (not least in the field of high-speed internet infrastructure development), improve the competitiveness of enterprises and stimulate their development;
- points out that local and regional authorities have to become involved in financing digital infrastructure in areas considered unprofitable by private operators, for example in rural areas; in order to ensure equal access to new technologies for all citizens from all regions, asks the Commission to support these authorities in their financing activities, firstly by authorising participation by the European Structural Funds in the financing of digital infrastructure in all European regions, and secondly by recognising digital development projects in rural and sparsely populated areas as services of general interest and general economic interest.