Information and communication technologies
The development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is vital for Europe's competitiveness in today's increasingly digital global economy. Over €20 billion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Fund is available for ICT investments during the 2014-2020 funding period. These investments support Commission action to create a Digital Single Market, which has the potential to generate up to €250 billion of additional growth.
Improving access, use and quality of ICTs is one of the 11 thematic objectives for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020. The ERDF will prioritise:
- Extending broadband deployment and the roll-out of high-speed networks
- Developing ICT products and services and e-commerce
- Strengthening ICT applications for e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, e-culture and e-health
ICT measures may also receive support under other thematic objectives, and they are also included in many smart specialisation strategies. Moving from a classic ICT sector approach to a comprehensive local/regional/national "digital agenda" within the Smart Specialisation Strategy is enabling regions to identify the priorities for ICT investment which are pertinent for their territory.
European Structural and Investment Funds are not only to be seen as financial support, but also as a policy tool to support the public authorities in defining their strategy and planing their administrative and investment effort. In order to make sure that EU investments achieve maximum impact, Member States and regions that wish to use funding for ICT-related projects are required to put in place a strategic policy framework for digital growth and a next generation network plan.
European Structural and Investment Funds can also be used strategically to encourage the transposition of Digital Single Market (DSM) legislative initiatives, the development of administrative capacity for effective application of this legislation and the leverage of national public and private funding to enhance and speed-up the positive impact of the DSM in all EU regions.
Increased ICT Investments in 2014-2020 will build on the achievements during the 2007-2013 funding period:
- Over 5 million additional people connected to broadband
- More than 20,700 ICT projects received ERDF support
- Broadband investment guide
- Online Section of the Digital Agenda Toolbox
- Thematic Guidance Fiche on Digital Growth
- Thematic Guidance Fiche on Broadband
- Synergies between ESIF, Horizon 2020 + other EU smart growth programmes
- Guidance on Ex ante Conditionalities for the European Structural and Investment Funds
- Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisations (RIS 3)
- Fact sheet on National/Regional Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)
- Setting up, Managing and Evaluating EU Science And Technology Parks
- IPTS Smart Specialisation Platform – Digital Agenda
- Communications Networks, Content and Technology - European Commission Directorate General
- Handbook on EU broadband state aid
- The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
- Research and innovation
- Information and communication technologies
- SME competitiveness
- Low carbon economy