Wednesday, May 4, 2005

EC Endorses Public Funding for Municipal Fiber Network in France

The European Commission ruled that public co-funding of an open broadband infrastructure in Limousin, France does not constitute "state aid" and should go forward. The project has a total budget of EUR 85 million and will be co-financed by EU funds as a public/private partnership. Selected through a public procurement procedure, the concession holder will provide various wholesale services to retail operators but not services to end users. Retail operators will be allowed to lease dark fiber on a non-discriminatory basis to offer services.

The EC noted that Limousin consists mainly of rural and remote areas, and that access to broadband services offered by existing market operators in Limousin is insufficient to meet the population's essential needs. The EC had already made a similar ruling in November 2004 in case in the Pyrénées Atlantiques region.


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