EU budget cuts could hit broadband delivery target

Broadband plugs

The decision to slash the EU's seven-year budget by 3.3 per cent will make the Union's broadband target harder to reach, it has been claimed.

The move was announced on Friday, following 26-hours' of negotiations, and is the first budget cut to blight the EU in its history.

It will result in 32 billion being wiped from its seven-year budget, while the amount set aside to support the EU's broadband plans will shrink from 9.2 billion to 1 billion.

Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, said the reduction will make its aim to provide 30Mbps broadband to all EU citizens by 2020 difficult to attain.

"Nonetheless, we have all agreed on broadband targets for Europe [and] those agreed objectives are now harder to reach, but we should stay focused on that goal," she added.

"I will keep fighting, and I will support innovations that help roll out fast broadband to under-served areas."

She then goes on to ask EU member states for additional support in reaching its broadband target, adding that a failure to do so could have dire consequences for all involved.

"I am ready to work and fight even harder, to develop a more favourable European market for investment in broadband, fixed and wireless," she wrote.

"If [member states] do not support that wider policy agenda, national governments will not achieve their own ambitions on broadband and the digital divide.

"They will face far more pressure to set up their own support schemes in areas where the market alone will act; and we risk not being able to build a connected, competitive continent," Kroes concluded.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.