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The European Commission (EC) has confirmed plans to invest a significant amount of money into broadband networks across the 27 member states.

Around £8 billion will be spent upgrading broadband infrastructure across the EU, particularly in rural areas which are under-served by the private sector.

The money is to come from the £50 billion Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which has been set up to ensure investment in transport, energy and digital networks.

EU President José Manuel Barroso said the CEF and the Project Bond Initiative are "a perfect demonstration" of the value added that Europe can provide.

"These proposals will help to build the roads, railways, energy grids and pipelines, and broadband networks that are so important to our citizens and businesses," he added.

"We are closing the missing links in Europe's infrastructure networks that otherwise would not be built."

Mr Barroso said the investment will generate growth and jobs and at the same time make work and travel easier for millions of European citizens and businesses.

Under EU plans, all citizens will have access to 30Mb broadband services by the end of the decade.

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