The project, implemented by the World Bank (WB), supports the Eastern Partner countries in their development and early implementation of national broadband strategies, in line with relevant EU best practices and strategies, through the provision of technical assistance and capacity building support.
The main objective of the project is to accelerate broadband deployment in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region, through the roll-out of national broadband strategies, in line with similar EU best practices and strategies. Accelerating broadband deployment in the EaP region is of vital importance, not just in terms of its potential to boost GDP growth (estimated at between €2.9 billion and €4.3 billion for the EaP region, for fixed broadband alone), but also for providing the essential connectivity for the deployment of eServices for businesses and citizens.
The project carries out the following activities:
- Benchmarking Study and Gap analysis
Carrying out a benchmarking study and a gap analysis of the current market status, against the EU framework and EU member states’ best practices. In each country, the WB team conducts an analysis of existing government broadband strategies, legal and regulatory frameworks, and practices related to broadband development.
- Support to improve legal and regulatory frameworks
Based on the gap analysis conducted through the first deliverable, the project supports national policymakers and regulatory authorities in the development a common approach to improve their legal and regulatory frameworks with the aim to facilitate broadband development, particularly telecoms and digital economy, in coordination with activities carried out under the various networks of the EU4Digital initiative and in line with EU best practices.
- Support broadband mapping
The project supports national policymakers and regulatory authorities in the mapping of broadband infrastructures and services in the EaP countries. Broadband mapping plays two interrelated roles, both in the coordination of deployment of infrastructure for the purposes of cost reduction, pursuant to the provisions included in the EU Directive 2014/61/EU, as well as in the classification of geographic areas into white, grey and black areas for state aid purposes.
- Promote the sharing of experiences and best practices
The project organises technical missions, workshops and events to deliver demand-based technical assistance activities to share experiences and best practices among the Eastern Partner countries on topics related to support for their broadband development. Activities focus on topics such as rural broadband access, radio spectrum management, international and regional cross-border connectivity, wholesale and retail market regulation, cost reduction through infrastructure sharing, state aid to fill remaining market gaps, and demand-facilitation measures.
- Formulate and support implementation of broadband strategies
The project supports EaP countries in developing or updating broadband strategies through technical assistance on specific topics, and recommending improvements to their action plans. The WB team will also engage with relevant partners to identify ą pipeline of possible investment programmes that could be supported by development partners, in collaboration with the private sector.