Commission Communication on the situation of the broadband strategies in the European Union

From January 2003 to January 2004, the number of people and companies that access the Internet through high-speed connections increased more than 80% in the European Union (EU) and, at present, the broadband market deployment is faster than in the United States, whereby several Member-states have the best performances worldwide in this matter. These are some of the conclusions that the Commission Communication “Connecting Europe at High Speed: National Broadband Strategies” takes, adopted last 12 May. 

The Communication is structured in four parts: the first part (Section 2) deals with the development, from the technological point of view, of the broadband benefits and the role of contents, services and applications; in the second part (Section 3) national strategies are presented for broadband (for a summary of these strategies, the Staff Working Paper may be consulted); the third part analyses the growth of broadband in the EU and its role in competition, within the framework of an appropriate regulatory environment; and the last and fourth part presents the EU general broadband policy.

As to Portugal, the document Staff Working Paper underlines the fact that, in January 2004, the broadband penetration rate amounts to 4.9% of the Portuguese population, Portugal being one of the few EU Member-states having the highest number of cable broadband subscribers as far as ADSL access is concerned. It is also underlined that special attention is given in the governmental area to the less favoured geographic areas in terms of broadband access as well as to the small and medium enterprises (SME). In particular, a reference is made to supporting the SMEs in e-business as well as to the target for 10,000 SMEs to have broadband access by 2005 and develop websites in the same amount. Furthermore, it also refers the Government’s objectives of promoting broadband connection between public institutions, development of Portuguese contents in the Internet, apart from other measures that contribute to the increase and awareness of the importance of new information and communication technologies to society and to the increase in productivity and competitiveness of the Portuguese economy. 

The objective of this Communication is to give an analysis to the developments regarding broadband in the EU, namely as regards the national strategies for the broadband of the former fifteen Member-states of the European Union, as well as the new members, since some of them have already approved the respective strategies, which all of them should do until the end of 2004. The Commission concludes that national strategies should continuously be reviewed and updated throughout 2005, both to take into account the new possibilities of the high-speed access offer and to integrate good practices from other countries.

Office® Format - Word Document - Office®. Commission Communication - COM(2004)369, of 12.05.2004
(The information provided belongs to European Commission)

Office® Format - Word Document - Office®. Commission Communication - Staff Working Paper (Annexes)
(The information provided belongs to European Commission)

Press release

European Commission - Broadband

Related information

Commission Communication on the eEurope 2005 action plan, 14.6.2004

Commission Communication on the developments in the electronic communications sector in 2003, 2.3.2004

New regulatory framework (99 Review)