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BIPT proposes minimum 30Mbps broadband speed for universal service

13 Mar 2023

Telecoms regulator the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) has opened a public consultation on a draft Royal Decree which would increase the minimum fixed broadband download speed provided within the framework of the universal service to 30Mbps, from the 1Mbps established in April 2014. Stakeholders have until 11 April to submit their comments on the proposal.

According to a report commissioned by the regulator which considered options to set the new minimum at either 10Mbps or 30Mbps, the slower connection speed was dismissed due to concerns it could very quickly become obsolete. Moreover, none of the country’s operator’s currently market packages providing a downlink slower than 20Mbps. Although modernising existing copper and cable infrastructure to support speeds of at least 30Mbps would be more costly – requiring gross investment of between EUR200 million (USD213 million) and EUR400 million, compared with EUR100 million-EUR200 million for 10Mbps – the BIPT believes it should be possible to reduce deployment costs by using fixed wireless access technologies, while the number of homes unable to access fixed broadband speeds of 30Mbps (currently estimated at approximately 46,500) is also expected to fall steadily as a result of scheduled network deployments.

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