The action intends to raise awareness on the benefits of high capacity broadband for schools and to tackle the digital divide between and within EU countries by:
- Providing information on financial support from the EU for connectivity;
- Developing a voucher scheme for schools for improved connectivity.
Approximately 18% of schools in the EU lack reliable broadband connections.
Schools often rely on 1 single connection or subscription to serve all students and teachers.
The EU broadband targets foresee that by 2025, all schools should have access to Gigabit internet connectivity.
Being connected to the internet offers many advantages to schools: accessing up-to-date resources and specialised material; using platforms for collaboration and supporting active learning and project work. Schools are using more bandwidth-heavy applications such as video conferencing and video streaming, online software, cloud computing and virtual and augmented reality.
The action is centred on creating awareness, including through the EU network of Broadband Competence Offices, on funding opportunities provided by the EU for connectivity. This includes support from the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF); the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Connecting Europe Facility.
A voucher scheme will also be developed to support connectivity in schools by building on the experience with the Wifi4EU scheme.
Connectivity for a European gigabit Society, adopted by the commission in September 2016, sets a vision of Europe where availability and take-up of very high capacity networks enable the widespread use of products, services and applications in the Digital Single Market. Broadband Europe showcases more than 200 European broadband projects in a database of good practice. 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.
How to get involved?
Schools or municipalities can get in touch with their Broadband Competence Office (BCO) for information on broadband developments and deployments in their country or region. BCOs provide technical and legal support to local and regional authorities on how to invest in broadband projects using European or other funds. See the Broadband in Member States page to find the BCO contact point in each country.