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No cash for broadband: Europe's super-fast future torpedoed by budget cuts

ZDNet - With negotiations over the EU's budget for the next seven years now concluded, the continent's broadband looks to have been the loser.

Discussions over the budget for the rest of the decade were wrapped up in Brussels on Friday, with the EU's member states agreeing a cut to Europe's 'payment ceiling' from €942.8bn in 2007-13 to €908.4bn in 2014-2020.

One of the areas to suffer as a result of the cut is Europe's broadband infrastructure. The initial budget proposed by the European Commission would have seen €7bn devoted to broadband networks and €1.2bn to digital services. The money would have come from a budget of €40bn destined for the Connecting Europe facility, a fund intended to foster "smart, sustainable and fully interconnected transport, energy and digital networks".

Under the budget now agreed by European leaders, that fund has now been cut to €29.3bn, with only €1bn to go on ICT and digital projects.

Europe's digital commissioner Neelie Kroes pronounced herself "disappointed" by the cut, and said that as a result of the reduced funding, the facility cannot now finance broadband projects.