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The European Gigabyte Infrastructure Act has been provisionally approved with amendments. The legislation should allow accelerated deployment of a gigabit networks in member states. However, the technical details still need to be worked out.

The European Commission, European Council and European Parliament recently reached a preliminary agreement on the Gigabit Infrastructure Act. However, this approval does have a number of changes from the European Commission’s original bill. Among other things, there are now exceptions for critical infrastructure and smaller municipalities are given a transition period before the changes become mandatory.

There are also specific provisions to promote connectivity in rural and remote areas.

Criticism of European telecom and internet providers

Commenting on the preliminary agreement on the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, the interest group of European telecom operators and Internet service providers ETNO responded with criticism. In the eyes of this group, the outcome of the political negotiations in the European legislative bodies deviates from the ambitions set earlier.

For example, important measures to reduce the time and cost of deployment would have been watered down. For example, companies tasked with building the gigabit networks were supposed to receive tacit approval for the work, but this has now become optional. This leads to fragmentation in the market, according to ETNO.

EU Gigabit Infrastructure Act

The act will soon allow companies to build gigabit networks faster and at less cost in the EU. This is intended to ensure that by 2030 virtually every household in the member states will have an Internet connection of at least 1 Gbps, via fiber or via 5G.

The law unifies the regulations for granting construction permits within the EU, making it easier to apply for a gigabit connection. It also requires government buildings to cooperate in placing infrastructure, such as installing 5G transmission towers. This also applies to sharing transmission masts; that should become easier with the new legislation.

In total, the EU is allocating a total of 65 billion euros for these measures.

Technical details still to be worked out

The EU Gigabit Infrastructure Act still requires technical details to be worked out. Technical experts will be looking into this shortly. The law will probably not become applicable until 2025.

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