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The European Union (EU) must not reduce the size of the fund available for next-generation broadband projects in member states, it has been claimed.

The FTTH Council Europe has called upon ministers to commit to the €9.2 billion (£7.44 billion) fund originally set aside for broadband upgrades through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Last month, it was reported that a number of member states wish to see funds transferred from the broadband portion of the CEF budget and channelled into transport and energy projects.

But the FTTH Council Europe - which campaigns for the rollout of full fibre services across the continent - believes this would be a mistake.

Karin Ahl, President of the lobby group, said those governments that adopt a more holistic view of society and the benefits that spread across the economy "will realise the importance of maintaining the CEF for network build".

"We very much need to build communication networks for the future that look beyond the next quarter’s returns and that can put Europe on the front foot for economic growth and innovation," she claimed.

The European Commission has set a target of universal 30Mb broadband across the EU by the end of the decade, with 50 per cent of citizens having access to 100Mb download speeds.

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