The roll-out of high-speed broadband networks across the EU requires substantial investments. Civil engineering works, such as the digging-up of roads to lay down high-speed broadband, account for up to 80% of the cost of deploying high-speed networks. Limiting these works would make broadband roll-out more cost-effective.

Main image cooperation to reduce broadband network invesment costs

The Directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (2014/61/EU), aims to facilitate and incentivise the deployment of high-speed electronic communications networks by reducing its cost. It includes measures, such as the sharing and re-use of existing physical infrastructure, which are expected to create conditions for a more cost-efficient network deployment. It will help create a digital economy that delivers sustainable economic and social benefits based on modern online services and fast internet connections.

The measures of the Directive focus on four main areas:

  • Access to existing physical infrastructure (e.g. ducts, poles or masts) including those belonging to energy and other utilities, for operators willing to deploy high speed broadband networks.
  • Efficient coordination of civil works.
  • Faster, simpler and more transparent permit-granting procedures.
  • Equipment of new buildings and major renovations with high-speed physical infrastructures (e.g. mini-ducts, access point) and access to in-building infrastructure.

Check the factsheet for a quick overview of the rules for broadband roll-out that will cut costs and increase the reach of high-speed broadband networks.

Why this Directive?

The Directive supports the EU's broadband targets set out in the Digital Single Market and the strategy on Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society:

  • Coverage of Next Generation Networks (NGN): 30 Mbps or more for all citizens by 2020.
  • Use of Next Generation Networks (NGN): 100 Mbps or more by 50% of households by 2020.
  • Access to 1 Gbps for all schools, transport hubs and main providers of public services and digitally intensive enterprises by 2025.
  • Access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps to be upgraded to 1 Gbps for all European households by 2025.

At EU level, an impact assessment has been completed to measure cost savings in the deployment of high-speed broadband networks. Also, public consultation processes have been undertaken in preparation of the Directive.

Implementation of the Directive in the Member States

Member States had to transpose the EU Directive into national legislation by January 2016 and since 1 July 2016 on, Member States generally have to apply those measures.

The EU Commission supported the governments in Member States, industry representatives and local and regional authorities to ensure the timely and effective transposition and to maximize the impact of the measures on the ground.

All national transposition measures communicated by the Member States concerning the EU Directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks are available in the European Union law database.

To support the implementation of the Directive, the EU Commission published a study examining the implementation of the cost reduction measures in the Member States, mapping progress in their application and identifying best practices.