France plans to invest nearly EUR20 billion (USD26.5 billion) of public and private funds in the rollout of high speed broadband networks over the next decade in a bid to spur economic growth, Reuters reports. ‘High speed broadband will strengthen the competitiveness of our companies and the quality of our public services,’ President Francois Hollande said in a speech outlining the plan, adding: ‘It is an opportunity to preserve and develop employment.’ Three tranches of more than EUR6 billion each will fund the planned network rollout; one from network operators, another from a mix of operators and local government, and the last from state and local-government money. By 2017 – the end of President Hollande’s first term – 50% of the country is scheduled to be covered under the plan, which allows operators to share rollout costs in less profitable areas.
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