EU proposes "best practice" for broadband deployment

2 April 2013 by Steve Blum
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The bell system worked for missions, but Spain has moved on.

An international consensus on the best ways to encourage better broadband infrastructure is rapidly forming. The European Union is proposing to harmonise broadband development policy across its 27 member states, including…

  • Creating a central source of information about broadband assets to help network planning.
  • Coordinating civil construction/public works projects – sometimes called open trench or dig once policies – so opportunities to put fiber in the ground are maximised.
  • Setting up centralised, on-line civil construction permit application processes.
  • Requiring the installation of broadband wiring and other infrastructure in new and remodelled buildings.
  • Establishing rules to allow any given Internet service provider to access pretty much anyone else’s facilities, including in-building wiring, local access lines and long haul networks.

The proposed new regulations go to the European Council and parliament for what is likely to be lengthy consideration. If something like this proposal eventually passes, it will bring a large degree of harmony and simplicity to European broadband infrastructure deployment efforts.

The EU proposal pulls best practice ideas from a number of member states, including the U.K., Spain, France and Germany. It doesn’t mention California, naturally enough, but it could have. The proposals mirror initiatives here. The City of Santa Cruz has a one-stop permit shop, the Central Coast Broadband Consortium is building a centralised data base of broadband assets, the City of San Leandro is considering broadband requirements for new buildings, and dig once policies are in various stages of trials and implementation at both state and local levels.

The EU’s goal is to provide a minimum of 30 Mbps Internet speeds universally, with at least half of homes subscribing to 100 Mbps service by 2020. It’s ambitious but possible in some European countries. It might be within reach in California, too. If we were that ambitious.