Squire Patton Boggs has co-authored, in partnership with consultancies WIK, VVA and LE Europe, an extensive study for the European Commission on the role of state aid for the rapid deployment of broadband networks in the EU (available here).
The study provides an overview of the implementation of broadband state aid measures across the EU during the period 2013-2019 and, with the aid of case studies, interviews and a survey of stakeholders, assesses challenges and best practices in the application of state aid to support broadband deployment.
A multidisciplinary team led by Competition – Antitrust partner Francesco Liberatore and including Matthew Kirk and Georg Serentschy, Public Policy International; Oliver Geiss and Will Sparks, Competition – Antitrust; James Mosley, Financial Services; and James Pascoe, Litigation, helped prepare and write the 589-page-long study.
The European Commission will now use the study as part of a public consultation to inform an overall evaluation of its broadband state aid guidelines and the relevant provisions of the General Block Exemption Regulation, which exempts member states from having to notify aid measures supporting the deployment of broadband networks in areas where no infrastructure of the same category exists or is credibly planned in the near future, provided that certain conditions are met. The consultation will be open until 5 January 2021. Broadband infrastructure operators and investors may wish to participate in the public consultation or get in touch to discuss the contents of the study.