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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways

High-quality backbone connectivity is essential to the performance and resilience of electronic communications networks.

Did you know that most of the internet traffic today passes through submarine cables that are fundamental to connect Europe with its islands and Outermost Regions and the rest of the world? It is these same submarine cables that help provide backbone connectivity, transporting big volumes of information across extended geographical areas. Backbone connectivity plays a fundamental role in ensuring that our internet traffic remains strong and consistent despite growing data flows.

In her 2021 State of the Union speech, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the need to strengthen strategic connectivity within the European Union through Global Gateway partnerships. In the field of digital, she mentioned how important it is to make sure all parts of the Union can have equal access to open and secure internet.

CEF Digital contributes to the Global Gateway strategy by supporting the deployment of backbone connectivity and networks. These networks that transport large volumes of data across long distances, such as submarine cables or satellite links. . The objective is to ensure high-quality connectivity in all parts of the Union. In the Outermost Regions, islands and Member States with coastlines, as well as the Overseas Countries and Territories where connectivity standards are often lower. 

As of February 2024, funding was awarded to 30 projects, stemming from the first two calls for proposal under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital programme. The third call closed in February 2024. Find future calls related to Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways in and the Funding Tenders Portal.

The financed projects focus on key infrastructures such as submarine cables and, where necessary, improvements in connectivity with satellite ground stations. In the long run, this initiative will not only be important to strengthen the connectivity capacity throughout the EU, but also to balance out the prices of connectivity services, both for citizens and for network operators.

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