Speeding up investments in the development of broadband networks is necessary for Poland to meet the goals of the European Digital Agenda, and first and foremost to lay the foundation for a modern economy. The amendment of the telecommunication service and network support act – the so-called “mega-bill” – passed by the Council of Ministers and sent to the Sejm, will surely help achieve the aforementioned objectives.
New regulations will have a positive impact on the conditions of carrying out broadband investments – by removing administrative and legal barriers, increasing the efficiency of spending the funds available in the Digital Poland Operational Program in 2014-2020 – 1 mln euro dedicated to improving the accessibility of broadband internet with over 30 Mb/s in bandwidth. The bill may also facilitate the construction of the LTE network with the use of the already assigned 800 MHz frequencies. Investments in the development of digital infrastructure fit into the goals of the so-called “Morawiecki’s plan”, creating conditions for modern companies who offer products or good with high added value.
The generally positive assessment of the act, which contains many potentially beneficial solutions, is a given. The idea of highlighting cooperation between different entities: local governments, road authorities, telecommunication and energy entrepreneurs etc. is commendable. At the same time, as we pointed out in our January position, some mechanisms are formulated with insufficient precision.
In light of this, social dialog is of key importance. Given the very short, 7-day consultation period, substantive discussion with experts should be continued in the course of parliamentary works, so that the act gains in quality.
The amendment is expected to remove the most important and nagging barriers for the growth of quick internet networks in Poland. Sadly, some of them remain unaddressed, a. o.: regulating payment for road lane access – an important barrier for the development of broadband networks; regulations for electroenergetic companies and tariff policy on this market with regards to creating incentives for common energy and telecommunication investments.
Clarifying those regulations of the mega-bill, the application and interpretation of which is in conflict with the lawmakers’ intentions, is also key. Regulations of installing antenna support constructions and radio communication installations on building can be cited as an example.
Therefore, while supporting the draft of the amendment, we also emphasize the need to take into consideration the postulates of the social partners ignored at the government stage. Only after they are taken into account, will the investment processes facilitating the spread of broadband internet be unlocked and the stability of law improved.
Piotr Wołejko, expert of Employers of Poland