The European Court of Auditors has today published an Audit Brief on the EU’s plans for the provision of broadband services in Europe. Audit Briefs are a new type of publication from the EU auditors. They provide background information based on preparatory work undertaken before the start of an ongoing audit task and are published following the announcement of the audit. They are designed as a source of information for those interested in the policy and/or programmes being audited.
The first Audit Brief is based on work done for an audit on whether the European Commission and the Member States are on-track to achieve the Europe 2020 broadband objectives.
The 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe envisaged bringing basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 and ensuring fast broadband coverage for all Europeans by 2020, as well as having over 50% of households subscribe to ultra-fast broadband by 2020.
Studies by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank estimate that up to €270 billion will be required to achieve the 2020 broadband targets. EU broadband infrastructure financing accounts for over €14 billion in the current programme period.
The audit, led by ECA Member Iliana Ivanova, is considering whether the Member States have developed and implemented appropriate strategies to achieve the broadband objectives set by the Commission and how likely they are to achieve them. It is looking at the use of multiple sources of EU and national funding for broadband and the degree to which the Commission has supported and monitored the Member States in achieving the broadband objectives.
To test this, the auditors have selected a sample of five Member States: Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Italy. They have set the audit scope and approach, and identified the areas of risk to sound financial management.
A special report is due to be published in spring 2018.