The government is to give local councils a lot of leeway to make billion euro investments in developing super fast internet services, junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk says in an interview with Wednesday’s Financieele Dagblad.
Dozens of provincial and local councils stand to make millions of euros from selling their stakes in energy companies Nuon and Essent. And if that money was invested in broadband internet services, the Netherlands could maintain its technological advance on the rest of Europe, the paper quoted Heemskerk as saying.
The initiative is part of the government’s efforts to boost the investment climate during the recession. Until now, ministers have said local authorities can only be involved in developing new networks if there is no private sector interest – a condition which is regarded as a virtual ban.
‘Our country must remain the testing ground for all companies involved in IT. Broadband is the motor for new services involving healthcare, education and security,’ the junior minister told the paper. Heemskerk’s draft legislation is currently being looked at by the Council of State advisory body.
Amsterdam city council is currently involved in developing a new glass fibre network in the city, a move which has come under fire from commercial cable operators UPC and Ziggo for being unfair competition.
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