European Western Balkans

RCC: The second meeting on Broadband Infrastructure Development in the region

SKOPJE/SARAJEVO – The second regional meeting on Broadband Infrastructure Development, organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat took place in Skopje today. The participants of the meeting were acquainted with the EU’s newest regulatory framework for broadband deployment and the set of selected best practices from the EU countries. They discussed the telecomm-related structural reform measures to improve broadband deployment in their Economic and Reform Programmes (ERP) 2017-2019.

“The Regional Cooperation Council firmly believes in need of concentrated regional efforts towards digitalisation of the Western Balkans, addressing the digital divide and supporting competitiveness of the ICT sector, whose growth potentials are impressive,“ said Sanjin Arifagić, the RCC’s SEE 2020 Coordinator, at the meeting opening.

“We foresee more prominent work not just on roaming and broadband initiative – but on a more comprehensive concept, including aspects of policy reforms and enabling measures, digital skills and supporting the sector’s competitiveness and exports potentials,“ said Arifagić.

The relevant international financial institutions’ experiences and the upcoming regional study on the potentials of using excess energy infrastructure for broadband development were presented at the meeting.

The first regional technical level meeting on Broadband Infrastructure Development, co-organized with the Minister of Innovation and Public Administration of Albania was held in Tirana on 15 March.

A number of advancements in the framework of the regional initiative for broadband development can be reported in the period between the two meetings, including the organization of the regional technical workshop on the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive in June this year; acknowledgment of the regional broadband initiative and network at the Paris Western Balkans Summit in July in Paris; and commencement of a regional study on the potentials of using excess infrastructure for broadband development.

The meeting gathered Western Balkans government representatives from the relevant ministries, ERP secretariats and regulators, EC representatives from DG Connect and DG Near, and representatives of the international financial institutions.

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