Federal Government ramps up broadband roll-out
Additional funding of EUR 1.4 billion - Austria's largest broadband funding budget to date.
Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Telecom Minister Elisabeth Köstinger today presented Austria's largest ever broadband expansion budget: the government meeting approved additional funding of EUR 1.4 billion for the national digital infrastructure. "Never before has more money been invested in expanding broadband as in this package. EUR 1.4 billion represents a huge impetus for expansion in every region of the country. Our goal is to provide every citizen with high-speed internet access as quickly as possible. The key is to ensure the same level of access in rural and urban areas," stressed Chancellor Kurz. "This investment package will ramp up broadband roll-out, providing a fixed and mobile gigabit network throughout Austria by 2030. This additional EUR 1.4 billion represents the largest broadband expansion budget Austria has ever seen," said Minister Köstinger at the press conference in Vienna's Technical Museum.
The expansion package includes EUR 891 million from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility for which Austria has recently applied. Funding also comes from the revenues obtained from the spectrum auctions, including EUR 187 million from the 2019 auction, and EUR 202 million from the 2020 auction, plus EUR 166 million earmarked in the current budget.
"The last year has shown the extent to which we all rely on high-speed internet in our daily lives. Home schooling, working from home, video conferencing with the family, ecommerce, communicating with the public authorities – the COVID-19 pandemic massively increased the demands on our digital infrastructure. Therefore, this EUR 1.4 billion expansion boost comes at exactly the right time," Köstinger concluded, indicating the positive progress made in expanding the powerful fixed network over the past years. "Currently, 43 percent of Austrian households are equipped with gigabit-capable connections. The additional EUR 1.4 billion for broadband expansion allows us to better meet our goal of providing high-speed internet throughout Austria by 2030. Every euro we invest in expanding broadband access is an investment in the future and improves the quality of life in even the most remote regions. Digital infrastructure is also essential if we are to remain a competitive business location," Köstinger said.
The Federal Ministry is already working on the next steps to drive broadband expansion: after securing the additional funding, new funding guidelines for allocating the new funds will soon be submitted for consultation and subsequently sent to Brussels for notification. At the same time, work is ongoing on an amendment to the Telecommunications Act to create framework conditions which will encourage investment in the commercial expansion of fixed and mobile internet.
Further Inquiry Note:
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism
Phone +43 1 71100 606918