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EU to invest £8bn in superfast broadband

Investment reflects expectations on technology to deliver growth

The European Commission is set to invest 9.2 billion in (£8 billion) in an EU-wide rollout of high speed broadband.

The move reflects the importance being placed on broadband in helping drive an economic recovery. The UK government has invested £530 million, and some EU broadband money will likely continue to reach projects here.

The EU will propose the funding this Wednesday, the BBC reported. The money is expected to be spent between 2014 and 2020.

The body is expecting to drive up speeds in rural areas as well as inner cities, and has already promised household broadband speeds of 30 megabits per second (Mbps) by the end of the same period.

"Europe needs these fast broadband networks to allow its economy to become more competitive in the future, and so create more jobs and prosperity," EU sources told the BBC.

"This money would stimulate much greater investment of private and other public money. Each euro [invested by the Commission] would give rise to a further six to 15 euros more."

The EU hopes that another 50 billion in investment will come from the private sector and national governments, which could co-fund projects.

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