European Union antitrust regulators today (7 November) approved France’s €13 billion scheme to roll out very high speed broadband across the country, saying it did not unduly distort competition.
“With these plans all French households and businesses will have access to high speed broadband by 2022. The plans also give more choice in suppliers,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU Competition Commissioner, said in a statement.
The French scheme, known as Plan Très Haut Débit, will fund local authorities’ infrastructure projects to deploy next-generation access networks ensuring fixed line connections of at least 30 megabits per second.
The European Commission said the scheme did not breach the bloc’s state aid rules because support would be granted in areas where no private investment is planned and competitors would have access to the subsidised networks.
The website of the projects says it will generate 20,000 jobs. Half of the budget will be generated by internet access providers. The second half of the investment – €6.5 billion – will come from public sorces, including €3 billion of state aid.
A plan to provide superfast broadband to French rural areas will receive EU funding in the form of ‘project bonds’, EurActiv France reports.