ISA² - Interoperability solutions for public administrations, businesses and citizens

Strengthening the EU’s telecommunications backbone

2016.02 Data communication network service (TESTA, sTESTA, TESTA-ng)                                

When is this action of interest to you? 

You would like to implement an information system to exchange data between European and national administrations. The security and availability of the data are especially important to you. 

What is this action about?

Modern telecommunications are central to ensuring that public administrations across the EU can exchange information and provide essential services to business and citizens.

In 1996, EU institutions and agencies were interconnected with EU countries for the first time. This was done through the network Trans European Services for Telematics between Administrations (TESTA).

Today, its successor, the TESTA network service provides a European backbone network for data exchange between a wide variety of public administrations. The network uses the Internet Protocols (IP) to ensure universal reach, but is operated by the EU Commission separately from the Internet. It provides guaranteed performance, high levels of security and has connections with all the EU Institutions and national networks. The TESTA infrastructure has been built to be subject to a security accreditation process to allow the exchange of EU classified information up to the "RESTREINT UE" level – Whereas the accreditation process needs to be launched and coordinated by the "system" owner requiring classified data exchanges.

The network is used by the European Commission as well as many other European institutions and agencies. The TESTA network is also used in the context of non-community projects by administrations in EU countries or organisations acting on their behalf.

Moreover, the TESTA framework is extensively used by the Commission’s DG HOME for the implementation of the VIS and SIS II networks, by the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU for the operation of INCA (Integrated Network for Council Applications) and by EUROPOL for the implementation of their own dedicated EUROPOL network.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT) has organisational and contractual control over the execution of the TESTA contracts. The TESTA network is controlled and supported by a central support and operation service and is responsible for all operational issues, including the security management of encryption devices.

What are the objectives?

Continued development of the TESTA network services, with a focus on:

  • improved connectivity
  • consolidating existing data networks independently managed by other institutions or European bodies
  • enhancing security
  • provision of a single support infrastructure for troubleshooting, alert management and reporting
  • providing assistance services dedicated to control and auditing of the operational networking services
  • providing a catalogue of services that allows application owners to order security services for the accreditation of their classified information systems
  • adding additional generic services, depending on new requirements

What are the benefits?

  • Preventing proliferation of uncontrolled networks. Access to a secure trans-European network service for data exchange.
  • Providing a trusted network, in which EU countries are confident to develop and support digital public services that foster interactions across borders.
  • Access to a secure trans-European managed network service for data exchange with specific availability or security requirements.
  • Avoiding the unnecessary implementation of costly shadow network infrastructures.
  • Enabling use in the context of a non-Community project by administrations in EU countries or organisations acting on their behalf, stimulating reuse of an existing infrastructure.
  • Protecting personal data on the network.

What are the next steps?

DIGIT has been working together with DG HOME/EU-LISA, TAXUD, Europol, EEAS, the Council and the representative of the ICTAC Agencies to replace different networks currently running in parallel with one jointly acquired next-generation network.

The strategy for the future is focused on becoming financially sustainable by working towards a sound legal basis and by applying cost sharing by end of 2020. The emphasis is also on investigating the future governance model, architecture and procurement.

DIGIT is close to concluding an agreement with these entities for the new network. The migration to the new network is planned for 2021 with a contract running until 2029.

What our users say

"The future needs reliable and secure electronic communication between the public administration of the Member States. TESTA is THE solution for Germany."

Constanze Bürger, IT and Network Infrastructures in the public administration, Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany 

Read more user testimonials at the TESTA solution page.