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National governments across the European Union need to provide greater support to the broadband industry, it has been claimed.

According to a joint report published by the Chief Executives of broadband providers Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom and Vivendi, efforts to improve broadband speeds across member states are at risk of failure.

Telecoms operators need greater funding from the public sector and increased understanding from regulatory bodies if they are to drive broadband forwards, the report argued.

As reported by the Financial Times, the document urged national governments to reduce the cost of providing EU-wide high-speed broadband.

At present, the cost of ensuring coverage across the bloc is estimated to be in excess of £250 million.

Deutsche Telekom’s René Obermann, Alcatel-Lucent’s Ben Verwaayen and Vivendi’s Jean-Bernard Levy called on regulators to allow them to tap into new revenue sources.

In particular, the broadband providers want to be able to charge web users for prioritised internet traffic.

However, this contradicts the long-established principle of net neutrality, which many commentators see as being critical to the functioning of the world wide web.

The joint report has not been endorsed by Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Telecoms, which somewhat diminishes its significance.

Under current plans, the European Commission is aiming for all EU homes to have access to download speeds of at least 30 Mb by 2020.

In addition, half of these homes will be required to have 100Mb broadband services.

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