On 9 March 2021, the Commission presented a vision for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030: The Digital Compass. This vision for the EU's digital decade revolves around four main areas with specific targets for 2030: Secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, Skills, Digital transformation of businesses and Digitalisation of public services.
Excellent and secure connectivity for everybody and everywhere in Europe is a prerequisite for a society in which every business and citizen can fully participate. The ambition for the Secure and sustainable digital infrastructures area is that by 2030:
- all European households are covered by a Gigabit network, and
- all populated areas are covered by 5G.
The Digital Compass continues on the track set by the Commission’s strategy on Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society, adopted in September 2016, which sets a vision of Europe where availability and take-up of very high capacity networks enables the widespread use of products, services and applications.
This vision relies on three main strategic objectives for 2025:
- Gigabit connectivity for all of the main socio-economic drivers,
- uninterrupted 5G coverage for all urban areas and major terrestrial transport paths, and
- access to connectivity offering at least 100 Mbps for all European households.
In addition, the Communication on Shaping Europe's digital future from February 2020 confirms the 2025 targets and shares a vision of digital society, which is strongly rooted in our common values, and sets three key objectives: technology that works for people, a fair and competitive economy and an open, democratic and sustainable society.
The Commission has also launched a series of complementary initiatives to help reach these objectives: The European Electronic Communications Code, proposed by the Commission and agreed on by the European Parliament and the Council end of 2018, will boost investments in very high capacity networks across the EU, including in remote and rural areas. Further actions include a 5G Action Plan, an initiative to bring free access to WiFi connectivity (WiFi4EU) in public spaces like parks, libraries and squares, the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund supporting the financing of broadband network infrastructure and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) stimulating the deployment and modernisation of broadband networks. The CEF-2 Digital strand as a part under the next 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, should finance strategic digital connectivity infrastructure with EUR 2 billion. An initiative on mapping of broadband data provides an interactive online application visualising availability of broadband and quality of service on an European scale.
The Commission’s state aid rules allow for the use of public funding for investments in broadband networks, when these investments bring substantial improvements to the existing networks (so-called “step change”).
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) also reflects the Commission‘s strategic infrastructure investment priorities. This long-term budget for 2021-2027 period together with Next Generation EU, the temporary instrument designed to boost the recovery, form the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget, of EUR 1.8 trillion. The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is a part of the European Commission's Next Generation EU. With a volume of EUR 672.5 billion in loans and grants, the RRF will offer financial support for investments and reforms in Member States. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate 5G and gigabit infrastructure deployment in order to enable Europe to lead the digital transformation. The Recovery and Resilience Facility template for broadband (deployment and take-up of fixed and mobile very high capacity networks, including 5G and fibre networks) provides extensive guidance on important matters, including how to design market conform public investment.
Check the overview of strategy and policy actions taken within the Europe fit for the digital age priority for 2019-2024.
Broadband Europe showcases more than 300 successful European broadband projects in a database of good practices. It also provides information and guidance on investing in broadband development, technological solutions, business models, financing tools and measures to reduce the costs of broadband deployment. The Connectivity Toolbox provides best practices from Member States for cutting the cost of network rollout and for providing timely access to radio spectrum for 5G. The Broadband Handbook for rural and remote areas will help policy makers and broadband project managers to rollout high-speed networks in rural or remote territories.
The country pages for each Member State provide information on developments in broadband, the national broadband strategies and policies, financial instruments, major projects, links to publications and contact information of responsible authorities. The network of the Broadband Competence Offices supports broadband deployment across the EU.
The Europe-wide competition for the European Broadband Awards aims at identifying the most successful projects of high-speed network development.