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Shaping Europe’s digital future logo

Connectivity

The EU’s goal is for Europe to be the most connected continent by 2030.

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Staying connected is a vital part of our lives. We all share a desire to keep in contact with one another, no matter how far apart we are. This desire was even stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many of us were kept apart from loved ones for a long time.

Connectivity allows us to reach and connect with others no matter where they are in the world. It puts countless possibilities in the palm of our hands: we can read the latest news whenever and wherever we find convenient, follow online classes, learn skills, and seek advice from professors and professionals no matter how far away they are. And, we can browse online markets to find the most convenient products and services, or offer our own products to customers around the world.

The EU has taken action in a range of areas to improve connectivity. It ended roaming charges, allowing us to take our mobile subscriptions on our travels through the EU at no extra cost. The WiFi4EU initiative funded the setup of free Wi-Fi hotspots in local communities.

The EU also provides funding, develops technical guidance and brings together experts to support public administrations and businesses working to improve network coverage and introduce 5G networks across Europe.

The focus now is on creating a Europe with harmonised rules for connectivity services, so that we can enjoy the same benefits no matter where we are in the EU. EU action also helps to bring more choice to consumers, reduce bills, and set a higher standard of service.

Actions already taken at EU level include:

  • introducing the European electronic communications code, which sets clear rules applicable across all of Europe
  • supporting wireless networks such as 5G through the radio spectrum policy programme
  • ending of roaming charges in the EU, and a price-cap on communications within the EU
  • leading global discussions on Internet development and governance

The main goal for connectivity in the Digital Decade is for every European household to have access to high-speed internet coverage by 2025 and gigabit connectivity by 2030.

Latest

VIDEO |
Catalonia’s EU-funded fibre network connects over 400 government sites and promotes competitive rural digital services

Thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, Catalonia built a fibre backbone to connect over 400 government and local administration sites across the region. By offering the network’s extra capacity to the market, this ‘open network’ allows local operators to compete to use the infrastructure and deploy services to under-served rural areas. “We have generated an ecosystem of over 80 local operators to promote competence and competitiveness in these local areas with very high-quality services”, explains David Ferrer, Catalonian’s Secretary of Digital Policies, in this video interview.

VIDEO |
Rural broadband enables smart and responsive water management

In this video, Jouke Velstra, Director and Senior Consultant at Acacia Water, explains how the EU-funded ‘Farmers measure water’ project combines high-speed rural broadband and state-of-the-art sensors to help farmers and water authorities in the Netherlands to better manage water usage in the face of climate change. Through rapidly relaying data on soil moisture, temperature and salinity, farmers and water authorities work together to keep crops healthy, improve water and soil quality, and reduce water waste.

VIDEO |
Bavaria’s State aid scheme brings gigabit connectivity to socio-economic drivers in grey areas

Bavaria’s State aid scheme is bringing gigabit-capable infrastructure to businesses, households, hospitals, educational and public institutions, in more than 420 rural municipalities. The scheme aims to bring Bavaria’s overall high-speed broadband coverage to 99%, with gigabit access throughout Bavaria by 2025. For rural areas, State funding has improved coverage (of at least 30 Mbps) from 27% to over 92% in the last seven years, notes Bavarian State Minister for Finance and Regional Identity, Albert Füracker, in this video interview.

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