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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Broadband: Actors in the value chain

The basic roles of Physical Infrastructure Provider (PIP), Network Provider (NP) and Service Provider (SP) can be taken by different actors.

Women farmers underline the need for rural connectivity


Backbone PIP

The backbone physical infrastructure provider owns and operates the passive infrastructure in the backbone and to some extent in the area networks. This can be a public or private actor with long-term investment plans or a local cooperative.

Access area PIP

The access area physical infrastructure provider owns and operates the first-mile connections and to some extent, also the passive infrastructure in area networks. This can be a telecom operator, a housing association, a local cooperative, the MDU owners, the municipality or the home owners, with long-term interests in the area.

Network provider (NP)

The network provider leases dark fibre from the PIP to offer service provider (SP) connectivity to the end users. It places equipment in all access nodes to which any of its end users are connected. In the passive-layer open model (PLOM), some NP’s may offer their own services: They are then referred to as integrated NP and SP, or infrastructure-less operators.

Service providers (SP)

A service provider is usually a small or large company, either locally or nationally, selling services to the end users over a network provider’s connectivity network. They only need to place equipment in a central location (e.g. the regional data centre) and interface to the NP’s equipment.

End users

End users are private citizens, small or large companies or public institutions purchasing services over the network.

Wholesale customers

Wholesale customers are entities that lease dark fibre from the backbone PIP or connectivity from the NP for their own communications needs. 3G/4G operators, cable TV operators, banks, large enterprises, or the public sector are amongst wholesale customers.

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Big Picture

Broadband project planning

The Broadband planning section helps municipalities and other entities in their planning of successful broadband development projects.

See Also

Broadband: Carrier models

Municipalities, municipal companies, joint ventures, and private companies can be involved in one, two or all three stages of broadband development.

Broadband: Plan definition

Key to successful regional broadband development is a politically-supported plan at local, regional or national level, that combines goals with specific needs and stakeholders.

Broadband: Action plan

The action plan details the costs, stakeholders, activities, coordination and monitoring involved in implementing the broadband strategy.

Broadband: Technology overview

An overview of different wired, wireless and upcoming broadband technologies and a description of their advantages, disadvantages and sustainability.

Broadband: Investment models

Investment models present interesting involvement opportunities for a public authority that engages in regional broadband development.

Broadband: Main financing tools

The main financing tools for high-speed broadband development projects are own resources, revenue-based financing, loans, equity and grants.

Broadband: State aid

State aid for broadband may be necessary in some places where the market does not provide the necessary infrastructure investment.

Broadband: Network and topology

A broadband network consists of geographical parts. The topology of a network describes how the different parts of a network are connected. The most relevant topologies for the backbone and area networks are tree topologies, ring topologies and meshed topologies. For the first...

Broadband: network layers and business roles

In order to understand the roles that public administrations can take, it is useful to view the different layers that make up a broadband network as well as main business roles.

Broadband: Choice of infrastructure

Broadband networks require different infrastructure types based on different logistic, economic or demographic conditions. Use the questions to help choose.

Broadband: Technology comparison

A comparison of broadband technologies presents features of each solution and helps decisions on the best solution for different regions.