News such as the following confirm my absolute confidence that it is high time Europe, with regard to the decisions about the development of broadband, depart from the “politically correct” principle of technological neutrality for a more open, effective indication of the fiber optic as a prior technology to be used, setting the minimum band and quality service levels as well.
But here are the news:
28/01/2009 (European Commission source)
€ 5 billion new investment in energy and Internet broadband infrastructure
As part of the ongoing implementation of the EU recovery plan endorsed by the European Council in December 2008, the European Commission has today presented proposals to invest in key energy and Internet broadband infrastructure projects. These will deliver a much needed stimulus to the EU economy in the short term, while at the same time targeting strategic goals such as energy security. All Member States will benefit from the package of measures.
For broadband, the Commission proposes to target € 1 bn to extend and upgrade high-speed internet in rural communities. This money will be targeted via the existing EU’s Rural Development Fund to cover the “white spots” on Europe’s broadband map (30% of the population in rural areas who do not have broadband access).
Now, the Commission proposal will have to be examined by the European Council to be approved. Then, the Member States and the regions will choose the projects according to the rules of eligibility and selection of their own programmes of rural development.
Within June 2009 each Member State will put forward the suitable modifications to their own Rural Development Programmes, which will provide for options for investments in broadband infrastructures.
Personally, I think it a good practice that every governmental intervention in the market involving the use of public money should be technologically neutral, setting the minimum standards in terms of performances only, leaving commercial companies free to use the best, for them, technologies.
Considering the current urgency to have super-fast broadband networks of new generation, I think we need to resolutely consider whether the technological neutrality is still the correct line or, as I am persuaded, it is high time to recommend the use of the fiber optic.
Anyway, any new infrastructure supported by public funds must be open access, so assuring all operators a non-discriminating access to the network.
Unfortunately, there is no hint to all that in the Commission proposal, almost trusting in the market utopian ability of making the best technological, managing choice, “future-proof”.
Pity that in the recent years so much public money has been wasted in the broadband, and we had many disappointments, in our province of Brescia as well, and the experience should always teach us something.
Don’t fall back in the same mistake, please!
P.S. – In the last months, I worked out some other proposals for Europe on this topic.
Mmmhhh, maybe I will write something in the next days.
Am I too presumptuous to think I could inspire some decision-maker?