Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks Text with EEA relevance

Published date23 May 2014
Subject MatterTelecommunications
Official Gazette PublicationOfficial Journal of the European Union, L 155, 23 May 2014
L_2014155EN.01000101.xml
23.5.2014 EN Official Journal of the European Union L 155/1

DIRECTIVE 2014/61/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 15 May 2014

on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks

(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 114 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (2),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (3),

Whereas:

(1) The digital economy is changing the internal market profoundly. With its innovation, speed and reach across borders it has the potential to take internal market integration to a new level. The Union's vision is that of a digital economy that delivers sustainable economic and social benefits based on modern online services and fast internet connections. A high quality digital infrastructure underpins virtually all sectors of a modern and innovative economy and is of strategic importance to social and territorial cohesion. Therefore, all citizens as well as the private and public sectors must have the opportunity to be part of the digital economy.
(2) Acknowledging the importance of high-speed broadband roll-out, Member States have endorsed the ambitious broadband targets set out in the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘The Digital Agenda for Europe — Driving European growth digitally’ (‘the Digital Agenda’), namely to bring basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013, and to ensure that, by 2020, all Europeans have access to much higher internet speeds of above 30 Mbps and 50 % or more of Union households subscribe to internet connections above 100 Mbps.
(3) Given the rapid evolution of technologies, the exponential growth in broadband traffic and the increasing demand for e-services, the targets laid down in the Digital Agenda should be considered to be an absolute minimum and the Union should aim for more ambitious broadband targets in order to achieve more growth, competitiveness and productivity. In the context of the review of this Directive, the Commission should assess whether and how this Directive could further contribute to that aim.
(4) The Digital Agenda has also identified the need for policies to lower the costs of broadband deployment in the entire territory of the Union, including proper planning and coordination and the reduction of administrative burdens. In that respect, significant upfront investments need to be made by Member States in order to enable the sharing of physical infrastructure. Having regard to the Digital Agenda targets, while at the same time acknowledging the significant reduction of financial resources dedicated to broadband under the Connecting Europe Facility established by Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (4), Member States should be able, for the purposes of attaining the objectives of this Directive, to use Union funding available in accordance with applicable Union provisions.
(5) Reducing the costs of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks would also contribute to achieving the digitisation of the public sector, allowing a digital leverage effect on all sectors of the economy, in addition to the reduction in costs for public administrations and increased efficiency of services provided to citizens.
(6) Taking into account the need for action at Union level to provide better broadband coverage, including by reducing the cost of high-speed broadband infrastructure as reflected by the Conclusions of the European Council of 13/14 December 2012, the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘Single Market Act II’ stresses the need for additional efforts in order to achieve quickly the objectives laid down in the Digital Agenda by, inter alia, addressing the high-speed network investment challenge.
(7) The roll-out of high-speed fixed and wireless electronic communications networks across the Union requires substantial investments, a significant proportion of which is represented by the cost of civil engineering works. Limiting some of the cost-intensive civil engineering works would make broadband roll-out more effective.
(8) A major part of those costs can be attributed to inefficiencies in the roll-out process related to the use of existing passive infrastructure (such as ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antenna installations, towers and other supporting constructions), bottlenecks related to coordination of civil works, burdensome administrative permit granting procedures, and bottlenecks concerning in-building deployment of networks, which lead to high financial barriers, in particular in rural areas.
(9) Measures aiming at increasing efficiency in the use of existing infrastructures and at reducing costs and obstacles in carrying out new civil engineering works should provide a substantial contribution to ensuring a fast and extensive deployment of high-speed electronic communications networks while maintaining effective competition, without adversely affecting the safety, security and smooth operation of the existing public infrastructure.
(10) Some Member States have adopted measures intended to reduce the costs of broadband roll-out. However those measures remain scarce and scattered. Scaling up those measures across the Union could significantly contribute to the establishment of a digital single market. Moreover differences in regulatory requirements sometimes prevent cooperation across utilities and may raise barriers to entry for new network operators and new business opportunities, hindering the development of an internal market for use and deployment of physical infrastructures for high-speed electronic communications networks. Finally, the initiatives at Member State level do not always seem to be holistic, whereas it is essential to take action across the whole roll-out process, and across sectors, in order to achieve a coherent and significant impact.
(11) This Directive aims at laying down some minimum rights and obligations applicable across the Union in order to facilitate the roll-out of high-speed electronic communications networks and cross-sector coordination. While ensuring a minimum level playing field, this should be without prejudice to existing best practices and measures adopted at national and local level entailing more detailed provisions and conditions as well as additional measures complementing those rights and obligations, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle.
(12) In the light of the lex specialis principle, when more specific regulatory measures in conformity with Union law apply, those should prevail over the minimum rights and obligations provided for in this Directive. Therefore this Directive should be without prejudice to the Union regulatory framework for electronic communications set out in Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (5) as well as Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (6), Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (7), Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (8) and Commission Directive 2002/77/EC (9), including national measures adopted pursuant to that regulatory framework, such as specific symmetric or asymmetric regulatory measures.
(13) It can be significantly more efficient for electronic communications network operators, in particular new entrants, to re-use existing physical infrastructures, including those of other utilities, in order to roll out electronic communications networks, in particular in areas where no suitable electronic communications network is available or where it may not be economically feasible to build up a new physical infrastructure. Moreover, synergies across sectors may significantly reduce the need for civil works due to the deployment of electronic communications networks and therefore also the social and environmental costs linked to them, such as pollution, nuisances and traffic congestion. Therefore this Directive should apply not only to public communications network providers but to any owner or holder of rights to use, in the latter case without prejudice to any third party's property rights, extensive and ubiquitous physical infrastructures suitable to host electronic communications network elements, such as physical networks for the provision of electricity, gas, water and sewage and drainage systems, heating and transport services.
(14) With a view to improving the deployment of high-speed electronic communications networks in the internal market, this Directive should lay down rights for public communications network providers to access physical infrastructure irrespective of its location under fair and reasonable terms consistent with the normal exercise of property rights. The obligation to give access to the physical infrastructure should be without prejudice to the rights of the owner of the land or of the building in which the infrastructure is located.
(15) In view of their low degree of differentiation, the physical facilities of a network can often host a wide range of electronic communications network elements at the same time, including those capable of delivering broadband access services at speeds of at least 30 Mbps in line with the technological neutrality principle, without affecting the main
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