The Commission’s strategy on Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society, adopted in September 2016, sets a vision of Europe where availability and take-up of very high capacity networks enables the widespread use of products, services and applications in the Digital Single Market.
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.
It confirms and builds upon the previous broadband objectives for 2020, to supply every European with access to at least 30 Mbps connectivity, and to provide half of European households with connectivity rates of 100 Mbps. Furthermore, it calls for 5G connectivity to be available in at least one major city in each Member State by 2020 at the latest.
The Commission has also launched a series of complementary initiatives to help reach these objectives: The new 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 Digital strand as a part of the new EU 2021-2027 budget, should finance strategic digital connectivity infrastructure with EUR 3 billion and will be decided by the end of 2019. An initiative on mapping of broadband data will provide 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) reflects the Commission‘s strategic infrastructure investment priorities. The MFF has been adjusted for 2019 and a modern, long-term budget proposal for 2021-2027 period has been made.
Broadband Europe showcases more than 200 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 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.