Gigabit connectivity is the cornerstone of the EU Digital Strategy and the foundation for an inclusive Digital Transformation.
Europe’s electronic communications infrastructure is the foundation of the EU Digital Strategy. It enables the Digital & Green Transformation and is key to Europe’s Recovery.
A dynamic European connectivity sector
From the early days of telecoms liberalisation, long-term private investment created electronic communications infrastructure competition, boosting innovation and consolidation. It drastically changed the dynamics of the European connectivity sector.
European end users, business and public sector customers demand ubiquitous fixed-mobile connectivity with ever increasing speeds and quality of service. To meet this demand, infrastructure providers continue to invest in next generation network technology roadmaps: from 5G to 6G, OpenRAN, Cable Docsis 3.1 and 10Gbps internet speed.
This will enhance resilience of European connectivity by lowering latency and by enabling higher data throughputs which will support new use cases in manufacturing, healthcare and entertainment. It will also enable the development of European data centers to compete with other global data hosting hubs.
Crowd-in private investment in connectivity
Private connectivity infrastructure providers continue to invest in Very High Capacity Networks and 5G. GIGAEurope members will play their part to meet the current connectivity investment gap challenge to achieve the EU Digital Compass connectivity targets of making Gigabit speeds available to all European households by 2030 and to have 5G coverage of all populated areas by 2030.
The European Commission quotes an investment gap of €125bn per annum to meet the needs of the Digital & Green Transition. Connectivity infrastructure alone amounts to €42bn of this gap, according to the Commission.
GIGAEurope advocates digital policies that:
- Are predictable & harmonized, technology-neutral, stimulate network & services innovation and infrastructure competition between very high capacity networks
- Maintain and strengthen the private investment case and accelerate the roll-out and deployment of very high capacity networks across Europe
- Achieve a sustainable equilibrium between consumer outcomes, environmental impact, security and healthy returns on investment when deploying fixed & wireless very high capacity networks
Burning connectivity policy issues
At the core, realizing the 2030 Digital Compass targets for Gigabit connectivity and 5G starts with reducing the cost of network roll-out at municipal level.
An acceleration of the allocation of 5G radio spectrum under investment-friendly conditions is needed at national level.
The Member States’ Connectivity Toolbox contains best practices on 5G investment incentives and spectrum assignment. It builds on the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive for an efficient and timely rollout of very high capacity networks across the EU. Implementation of the Toolbox can contribute to the Member States’ preparation of their intended digital investment plans under the Recovery & Resilience Fund.
Where the digital investment plans relate to digital infrastructure, GIGAEurope calls for conditions best suited for private investment and for public investment to be targeted at removing obstacles for VHCNs-build, for example in (remote and rural) areas where a private investment case is lacking. It is paramount that sustainable competition is retained by ensuring that any deployment of state resources under the RFF or other forms of state aid to broadband networks does not crowd out new private investment and undermine returns on long-term investment in existing very high capacity networks.