Broadband: EC refers Bulgaria and Netherlands to Court and closes two cases
At the same time, the Commission closes the cases against Austria and Luxembourg that have notified the complete transposition of the same Directive. Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law by January 1, 2016.
The Commission is calling on the Court to impose financial penalties: for Bulgaria - € 22 226.40 per day, for the Netherlands - € 87 091.20 per day.
The infringement proceedings were opened against those countries in March 2016 and a reasoned opinion was sent in September 2016. These Member States have not yet notified the Commission all the measures necessary in order to transpose the Directive into national law.
In July 2017, the Commission decided to refer Belgium and Slovakia to the Court of Justice of the EU for delay in transposing the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive.
The Broadband Cost Reduction Directive aims at incentivising cooperation across sectors and exploiting synergies (e.g. with energy, water, transport) to the benefit of the citizens by creating the condition for more efficient deployment of new physical infrastructure so that the networks can be rolled out at lower cost.
Civil engineering, such as the digging-up of roads to lay down high-speed broadband, accounts for up to 80% of the cost of deploying broadband networks.
In case the transposition remains incomplete and the Court of Justice of the EU confirms the Commission's view, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date of the judgment or a later date set by the Court until the transposition is complete.
The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court, but this cannot exceed the Commission's proposal. ■