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09 January 2009

Portuguese govt commits funds to next-generation networks

The Portuguese government has signed agreements with the major telecom network operators on developing next-generation networks for the country. The agreements include a line of credit worth EUR 800 million for investments in new networks and possible EU development funds for broadband deployment. The agreement includes two protocols signed between the ministry for communications and the industry groups AET and APDC. In December the government already agreed to include broadband development in its economic recovery plans. It has now also committed to developing legislation to reduce barriers to investment in new networks and ensure equal access to the new infrastructure. It will also work on developing more fibre ducts, improving fibre access to buildings and supporting rural broadband projects through tax benefits. In return the operators have agreed to roll out fibre networks supporting 1.5 million users this year, and also cooperate with regulator Anacom on developing the new regulatory framework. They will also work to promote broadband and develop new services for business and social improvements.

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