On the right track with broadband

The presence and use of broadband infrastructures are regarded as essential factors for economic growth and for the knowledge economy. This opinion is shared broadly by municipalities, provinces, housing associations, central government and the European Commission.

To put it briefly, broadband can be defined as a permanent connection to electronic communication networks. However, descriptions of what broadband actually entails vary. These descriptions are sometimes of a functional nature (what broadband can be used for) and sometimes technical (what the capacity of the connection is). Due to rapid technological developments, this term is dynamic. Many definitions used for broadband originate from the European Commission and from the Broadband Paper (Breedbandnota).

The European Commission has set out its ambitions and policy actions on broadband in the Lisbon Agenda. Central government has set this out in the Broadband Paper. Municipalities, provinces and housing associations are also initiating the promotion of broadband services and networks. Under the right conditions, these parties can give an important impulse to the development of broadband. The policy pursued by this Cabinet focuses on the creation of the right preconditions and on the improvement of the operation of free market forces for electronic communication infrastructure; primacy for the development of networks lies with market parties. This guide is intended to support policy staff and administrators from municipalities, provinces and housing associations and enable them to get on the right track with broadband.

All initiatives must fall within the frameworks of European and national legislation and regulations. This guide offers an analysis of European and national legislation and regulations, state aid and procurement procedures and recent statements by the European Commission in relation to these subjects.

This guide will also look at the recommendations made by the Cabinet on how broadband can be promoted taking into account healthy market forces. These recommendations have been translated into issues and step-by-step plans. The recommendations are illustrated on the basis of appropriate examples from the field.

All broadband initiatives must fall within the frameworks of European and national legislation and regulations. This guide offers an analysis of European and national legislation and regulations, state aid and procurement procedures and recent statements by the European Commission in relation to these subjects.

This guide will also look at the recommendations made by the Cabinet on how broadband can be promoted, taking into account healthy market forces. These recommendations have been translated into issues and step-by-step plans. The recommendations are illustrated on the basis of appropriate examples from the field.

Throughout this report, practice-based examples have been used to illustrate how municipalities have responded to the recommendations. Therefore, the practice-based examples given are illustrative of the recommendation in question, not, by definition, for the other recommendations too.

The starting point for the European Commission regulations and the Cabinets recommendations is that they promote healthy market forces. This is essential for the development of the telecommunications market and for economic growth in general. In addition, good market forces also secure equal opportunities for all parties and optimal freedom of choice for consumers. This is very important for the achievement of our shared ambition, which is to make the Netherlands a broadband front runner. The Netherlands can largely thank its present lead in the field of broadband connections to competition on and between networks.

Chapter 1 focuses on the relationship between European regulations and broadband, particularly in terms of state aid and tendering issues.

Chapter 2 uses a number of practice-based examples to discuss issues that are important to consider when developing a broadband project. Some of the descriptions of state aid and tendering from Chapter 1 also return in this Chapter. However, in this chapter, these subjects will be discussed from a practice perspective.

  • Publication number
    2005.096-0604
  • Publication date
    2 February 2006
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  • Project ID
    2005.096
  • Commissioned by
    Ministerie van Economische Zaken
interested in this topic? Get in touch with Sven Maltha
Senior partner / senior adviseur