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The Commission has published a Recommendation on a common toolbox to foster connectivity in support of economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in the Union

03.11.2020

The COVID-19 crisis has shown that connectivity is essential for people and businesses in the Union. Electronic communications networks, in particular very high capacity networks, have been playing a crucial role in the response to the crisis by enabling remote working and schooling, healthcare, and personal communication and entertainment. Widespread gigabit connectivity underpins bandwidth-intensive use cases in the fields of health, education, transport, logistics, and media, which can play a key role in Europe’s economic recovery.

Due to pandemic, investment and reforms are needed more than ever to ensure convergence and a balanced, forward-looking and sustainable economic recovery. Investing in the Union’s common priorities, notably in the areas of green, digital and social policies, will improve its resilience and help create jobs and sustainable growth, while modernising Member States’ economies. Member States should therefore fully exploit the potential of the proposed recovery and resilience facility, ensuring efficient public spending and creating the conditions best suited for private investment. To that end, this Recommendation (EU) 2020/1307 of 18 September 2020 on a common Union toolbox for reducing the cost of deploying very high capacity networks and ensuring timely and investment-friendly access to 5G radio spectrum, to foster connectivity in support of economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in the Union gives guidance to Member States who are in the process of designing their proposals for their recovery and resilience plans. It indicates how Member States can deploy simple and realistic measures to assign radio spectrum for the fifth generation (5G) networks under investment-friendly conditions, and how they can facilitate the deployment of very high capacity fixed and wireless networks by, for example, removing unnecessary administrative hurdles and streamlining permit granting procedures.

In this socio-economic context, it is necessary to develop a common Union approach, a ‘Toolbox’, based on best practices. The aim is to incentivise the timely deployment of very high capacity networks, including fibre and next generation wireless networks. Such approach would support emerging and future digital processes and applications, and contribute directly to growth and employment, as part of the Union’s economic recovery.

The Council Conclusions on Shaping Europe’s Digital Future of 9 June 2020 stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for fast and ubiquitous connectivity. This situation calls on Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, to develop a set of best practices to reduce the costs of network deployment and facilitate the roll-out of very high capacity infrastructures, including fibre and 5G.

5G mobile networks will bring very high capacity connectivity to mobile users. These networks are set to play a vital role in laying the basis for the digital and green transformations in areas like transport, energy, manufacturing, health, agriculture and media.

It is therefore important that Member States take appropriate steps to promote deployment throughout their territories, including rural and remote areas, and cooperate with each other in the deployment of 5G in cross-border areas.

Тhe Recommendation (EU) 2020/1307 is available in the application: