The Greek government is proceeding with a planned rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services covering two million households over the next seven years, with the state to fund a third of the EUR2.1 billion (USD2.7 billion) total cost, reports Light Reading. Chairman of the Greek Research and Education Network, Panayiotis Tsanakas, told the FTTH Council Europe Conference 2009 that direct fibre connections with speeds of 100Mbps will be provided in Athens, Thessaloniki and 50 other cities and towns, with the aim of attracting at least 650,000 end users. The government is not dictating the last-mile technology, but stipulates an open network architecture that will be run by a separate entity from the companies offering services to consumers and businesses, including internet access, VoIP telephony and IPTV. However, the project still needs to secure European Commission (EC) clearance and funding from the private sector, whilst the state also hopes that external funding will be available from sources such as the European Investment Bank or directly from the EC. The latter announced last month that EUR1 billion had been earmarked in 2009-10 for assisting rural broadband network rollouts in Europe. Tsanakas expressed confidence that network construction contracts would be awarded before the end of this year via public tenders, with building to begin in 2010. He added that the government will introduce new legislation covering the shared use of ducts and in-building networking, and will make any other legal amendments necessary to facilitate the project’s success.