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EU approves investment in fibre network

12 December 2007 - Amsterdam’s six million euro participation in a project to create a fibre-optic network that will provide broadband access to 37,000 households does not constitute illegal state aid, EU commissioner Neelie Kroes ruled after a one-year investigation.

According to Emerce, it is conceivable that private parties will now be interesting in connecting the remaining 400,000 households without aid from the municipality. However, alderman Maarten van Poelgeest said the city may choose to remain involved as long as the market does not guarantee that all service providers will have equal access to the network.

Kroes’ ruling is a defeat for cable provider UPC, which lobbied against Amsterdam’s involvement in the creation of a fibre-optic network. According to Emerce, the lobby has close relations with the VVD, of which Kroes is a member. These relations would have helped to keep the cable network closed to external service providers.

Emerce (in Dutch). Illustration: Aldermen Dennis Straat (Zeeburg), Maarten van Poelgeest and Carolien Gehrels (Amsterdam) at the start of the creation of the fibre network (photo: Citynet)


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