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The European Commission (EC) is seeking to reduce the costs faced by telecoms firms for broadband-related civil engineering.

A new draft regulation has been proposed, aimed at cutting the cost of laying network cables by up to a third.

According to the EC, civil engineering - such as the digging up of roads to lay down fibre - accounts for up to 80 per cent of the cost of deploying high-speed networks.

It wants to ensure that all new or renovated buildings are high-speed-broadband-ready, and that civil works are properly co-ordinated.

The EC is also aiming for firms to have access to infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms and conditions, including price.

This includes existing ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions.

Finally, the EC wants to simplify complex and time-consuming permit granting, especially for masts and antennas.

Under the new proposal, permits will be granted or refused within six months by default, and it will be possible to make requests through a single point of contact.

"In most places, today's rules hurt Europe's competitiveness," said European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes.

"Everyone deserves fast broadband. I want to burn the red tape that is stopping us from getting there."

Ms Kroes said the European Commission wants to make it quicker and cheaper to deploy and access super-fast broadband.

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