A draft law to make broadband infrastructure cheaper to build, by enabling broadband firms to share plans and costs with firms in other sectors, such as gas, sewage and transport, was approved by the Industry Committee on Thursday. MEPs also suggest introducing a voluntary "broadband-ready” label for houses.
"All our rural development initiatives in the EU will be wasted if we don't manage to bring high-speed internet to all our towns and villages. Without it, rural Europeans will become second-class citizens without access to jobs, information, services or even to education. Nowadays if you are cut off from the web, you are cut off from society", commented rapporteur Edit Herczog (S&D, HU).
Examples of networks that could incorporate high-speed broadband connections include those used for electricity, gas, and sewage and drainage systems, heating and transport services, but not drinking water networks, MEPs say.
Access to infrastructure information
Broadband firms would have the right to access "promptly", via a single information point, at least information on the location, route, size, type and current use, name of owner and a contact point for existing infrastructure, says the text. Similar information would be available about infrastructure work that is planned and under way, it adds.
Access to this information should be denied only if security or fundamental public or individual interests are at risk, say MEPs.
All newly-constructed public buildings and public multi-dwelling buildings, including social housing, should be equipped with in-house infrastructure ready for broadband connection, MEPs say. The same rules would apply for buildings that undergo major renovation works.
MEPs also want an EU-wide "broadband-ready label" to be used, on a voluntary basis, for buildings and apartments with access to high-speed in-house broadband infrastructure.
Ms Herczog received the mandate to start negotiations with member states. These negotiations are expected to start shortly.
Procedure: co-decision, 1st reading
In the chair: Amalia SARTORI (EPP, IT)