Digital Agenda I: Ultra-fast Telecommunications and Networks Plan
The High-speed Telecommunications and Networks Plan (the “Plan”) is one of the seven specific plans recently unveiled by the government as part of its Digital Agenda for Spain. The Plan focuses on overhauling existing networks and the roll-out of new networks, providing ultra-fast access to broadband, both fixed and mobile, and on encouraging the adoption of these networks by citizens, companies and the public authorities. With this aim in mind, the Plan combines legislative measures with initiatives to promote the offer of networks and stimulate demand. Although the measures are temporary, set to run until 2015, the Plan has been conceived to continue until 2020 in order to fulfill the broadband objectives established by the Digital Agenda for Europe. Namely, fast broadband coverage of at least 30Mbps in 2020 for all and with at least 50% of households taking up broadband subscriptions of more than 100 Mbps by that same year.
The Plan has been structured into three core areas: (1) measures to encourage the deployment of fixed access high-speed networks; (2) measures to speed up high-speed mobile coverage and (3) measures to encourage demand. The main instruments to be used to achieve these objectives are set out below.
1. Measures to encourage the roll-out of high-speed fixed access networks
- Cutting the cost of deploying fixed networks: changes in legislation to streamline administrative formalities for the installation of high-speed networks.
- Program to extend new generation broadband: financing aimed at extending new generation broadband coverage and the deployment of high-speed networks in areas which do not have it and where it is not envisaged in the short term.
- Coordination with the regional authorities for the deployment of networks: greater coordination between the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the regional public authorities when the latter rubber-stamp legislation and urban planning instruments that affect the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.
2. Measures to expedite the coverage of ultra-fast mobile access networks
- Facilitating access by operators to new band frequencies (digital dividend): the aim is to meet the huge increase in demand for data traffic mobility.
- Simplifying requirements for the deployment of mobile networks: legislation to eliminate licenses and authorizations in certain categories of facilities.
- Implementation of electronic management in procedures associated with the deployment of mobile networks: the aim is to promote the development of one sole electronic processing point to carry out all the steps associated with the deployment of mobile networks with the regional authorities.
- Universal access to mobile broadband of 30 Mbps in towns of less than 5,000 inhabitants: mobile telephone operators must prepare a joint plan so that by January 1, 2020 90% of towns of less than 5,000 have access to 30 Mbps or more.
3. Boosting demand
- Demand in the context of SMEs: the aim is to promote among SME’s and self-employed individuals the use of corporate cloud computing services and the use of high-speed broadband networks.
- Demand in residences: the aim is to guarantee quality access to digital legal content and the use of high-speed broadband networks by citizens.
- Demand by the public authorities: the aim is to encourage the connectivity of teaching centers and other official centers and facilitate the installation of technological infrastructure for the use of applications and digital content.
Finally, it is important to mention that the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism recently approved an aid scheme of €200 million (€20 million in grants and €180 million in loans) for all high-speed broadband. The action areas to implement projects are towns that do not have coverage for high-speed or very high-speed new generation network access, or deployment plans by any operator in the next three years.
Garrigues Telecommunications & Media Department