Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

1bn on the table to improve the digital side of European interconnection

Written by Eric Apim on Thursday, December 16th 2021 à 16:00 | Read 293 times

The EU wants all European households to have access to gigabit connectivity (European Commission/iStock photo Getty Image plus)
The EU wants all European households to have access to gigabit connectivity (European Commission/iStock photo Getty Image plus)
EU. On Thursday 16 December 2021, the European Commission adopted the first work programme for the digital part of the European Interconnection Mechanism (EIM). It defines "the scope and objectives of the EU-supported actions needed to improve Europe's digital connectivity infrastructure over a three-year period", as stated in a statement.

The institution wants to encourage public and private investment in this area. To get the ball rolling, it will therefore provide more than €1 billion in funding to support "connectivity projects of common interest to the EU and the deployment of high-performance, secure and sustainable infrastructures, including gigabit and 5G networks throughout the EU", the European Commission said. This envelope will cover the period 2021-2023 and is part of the more global €2 billion envelope of this part of the EIM running until 2027. The EIM, which supports investment in trans-European digital, transport and energy networks, has a total of €33.7 billion for the period 2021-2027.

"Investment in cross-border connectivity will continue to play a key role in Europe's transformation and competitiveness. Better networks and infrastructure will enable Europe's citizens and businesses to access new jobs, compete in new markets and grow their businesses", says Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President for a digital Europe.

​First calls for projects in January 2022

The key actions to be supported will have to address the three priorities set: the deployment of 5G infrastructure and in particular 5G coverage along cross-border corridors and 5G for smart communities; the deployment of new backbone networks or in-depth upgrades of existing backbone networks (core part of infrastructure networks) (including cloud federations, ultra-secure quantum communication infrastructure and submarine cables) to improve the performance of electronic communication networks within and between Member States, as well as between the EU and third countries; the implementation of digital connectivity infrastructures linked to cross-border transport or energy projects and/or support to operational digital platforms directly associated with transport or energy infrastructures.

The first calls for projects under this strand will take place in early January 2022.

The EU wants all European households to have access to gigabit connectivity and all inhabited areas to have 5G coverage by 2030.

"Secure and fast connectivity is the pillar on which we will build Europe's digital decade," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. "It will give Europeans access to digital skills, enable businesses to innovate and promote the availability of unprecedented applications in areas such as health, education and online public services."


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