The digital economy can improve services, expand choice and create employment. Access to digital service infrastructures and high-speed broadband internet are essential for the realization of the digital single market. Enabling its development could contribute an additional EUR 415 billion to EU GDP.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) supports trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy. The European Commission has proposed a series of guidelines for telecommunications covering the objectives and priorities for Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) and broadband networks.

The Connecting Europe Facility in Telecom

CEF Telecom has a budget of approximately 1 billion euros, out of which 870 million euros are dedicated to DSIs delivering networked cross-border services for citizens, businesses and public administrations. The rest is for Broadband networks.

Supported projects contribute to:

  • Improvements in the competitiveness of the European economy;
  • Promotion of the interconnection and interoperability of national, regional and local networks;
  • Access to such networks, thus supporting the development of a Digital Single Market.

Digital Service Infrastructures

CEF supports basic and re-usable digital services, known as building blocks. The building blocks can be combined with each other and integrated with DSI projects. These projects deploy more complex trans-European digital services based upon mature technical and organisational solutions in diverse areas. The projects contribute to improvements in daily life of Europeans through digital inclusion, the connectivity and interoperability of European digital services, and the development of a Digital Single Market.

Building blocks supported so far include: eIdentification; eSignature; eInvoicing; eDelivery; and Automated Translation. DSIs supported so far cover, for example, the areas of cyber security, eHealth, and online dispute resolution. Read the full catalogue of digital services.

Implementation of Digital Services Infrastructures

CEF offers funding opportunities either via the procurement of services for the core components provided by the European Commission, or through calls for proposals (grants) to help link the national infrastructure in the Member States to the core components.

Last year four calls for proposals were held. INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency) has published the results of the call for proposals 2016-1, 2016-2, 2016-3 and 2016-4. CEF's priorities and actions to be launched during 2017 have been identified in the annual Work Programme 2017.

In 2017:


The Broadband component of the programme seeks to contribute to the achievement of the Digital Agenda targets of all European households having access to internet connections of 30 Megabits per Second and 50% of households to connections above 100 Megabits per Second by 2020.

To achieve this CEF aims at facilitating an efficient flow of private and public investments to stimulate the deployment and modernisation of broadband networks. Across the whole multi-annual financial framework (2014-2020), 15% of the CEF budget shall be allocated to Broadband. At least one third of the Broadband projects financially supported under CEF shall aim at speeds above 100Mbps.

More information on the Connecting Europe Facility in Telecom

A full overview of CEF Telecom, including the building blocks and DSIs, is given on the CEF Digital Single Web Portal which also is a platform for collaboration and discussion.

The calls for proposals are implemented by INEA on behalf of the Commission. More information on the calls is provided on INEA's website.

Team responsible


Tuesday, 24 June, 2014
Last update: 
Monday, 8 May, 2017