EU Guidelines for the application of State aid rules in relation to the rapid deployment of broadband networks (2013/C 25/01).
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Broadband connectivity is of strategic importance for European growth and innovation in all sectors of the economy and for social and for territorial cohesion. The Europe 2020 Strategy (EU2020) underlines the importance of broadband deployment as part of the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade and sets ambitious targets for broadband development. One of its flagship initiatives, the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) acknowledges the socio-economic benefits of broadband, highlighting its importance for competitiveness, social inclusion and employment. The achievement of Europe 2020 objective of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth depend also on the provision of widespread and affordable access to high-speed Internet infrastructure and services. Meeting the challenge of financing a good-quality and affordable broadband infrastructure is a crucial factor for Europe to increase its competitiveness and innovation, provide job opportunities for young people, prevent relocation of economic activity and attract inward investments. The DAE restates the objective of the EU2020 to bring basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 and seeks to ensure that, by 2020, (i) all Europeans have access to much higher Internet speeds of above 30Mbps and (ii) 50% or more of European households subscribe to Internet connections above 100Mbps.