Sarkozy unveils EUR4.5bn government investment in ultra-high speed broadband

15 Dec 2009

The President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, says the government intends to invest EUR4.50 billion (USD6.59 billion) to underpin the deployment of ultra-high speed broadband networks in the country, as well as the development of innovative services, as part of a EUR35 billion bond issue known as the ‘grand emprunt’. French news daily Les Echos reports that Sarkozy has announced five major priorities for the government: higher education, research, digital economy, sustainable development and industry. Details are sketchy on how precisely the funding will be allocated, although it is thought that the budget for the digital economy fund will be EUR500 million more than the EUR4 billion figure being sought by a committee set up to study the needs of the sector. Sarkozy said the government will provide EUR2 billion to enable 70% of the population to have access to a service providing a minimum 100Mbps connection speed, within the next decade. Privately owned companies and investors are expected to spend at least twice that being promised by the state to realise the ultimate goal.