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Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Connected Communities Initiative

The European Commission has launched the Connected Communities Initiative, a public call for expressions of interest for broadband projects interested in the use of financial instruments. Connected Communities aim to gather information from the market about existing connectivity projects that seek to provide high-speed broadband (30 Mbps and above) and are currently under consideration by public and private promoters, in particular regional and local decision makers.

The Connected Communities Initiative aims to identify the technical assistance needs of local communities and offers targeted support to promoters of more advanced projects, while providing information about past projects and best practice as well as funding opportunities through EU-supported financial instruments with the European Investment Bank (EIB) (Connected Europe Facility, European Fund for Strategic Investment).
The technical assistance, to be provided under the contract with the World Bank, is aligned to the needs of selected projects and may include advice related to financial structuring, aggregation or technical aspects of the project (e.g. network architecture or the business model).

Following the call for the expression of interest, 120 responses have been received from 24 Member States.
Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain had the highest representation of projects (approx. 10 each).

Responses received by country

 Responses received by country

The first phase has classified responses into 3 categories, based on the maturity. All participants are invited to a Connected Communities workshop in June to learn about sources of information, current and future technical assistance and financing opportunities. The workshop would also be an opportunity to meet with experts from the World Bank and from the European Investment Bank and hear about their experience in the sector. A dedicated web space - Broadband Europe - will make available dedicated interactive fora for broadband project promoters to discuss their projects further and help with relevant questions.

The World Bank will work with a subset of more advanced projects to better understand their financing requirements, help them strengthen their Business Plans and make them better prepared to approach public or private sources of long-term financing. The World Bank will also look for solutions to aggregate projects, if opportune; to a size compatible with EU-supported financing instruments.
It is surprising to see so many responses of grass-root broadband initiatives in Europe which is a sign of considerable demand for investments. Not only Connecting Europe Facility but also European Fund for Structural Investments might consider some of Connected Communities projects for potential technical assistance and funding opportunities.

Broadband Europe Forum

Connected Communities "Experience Sharing" Workshop

Connected Communities "Mutual Learning" Seminar

Broadband Cost Model - by Goran Zivec, VAHTA