The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) supports the development of trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework, the MMF, the digital strand of CEF is worth €2.07 billion (in current prices) and will fund connectivity projects in the period 2021-2027.
Actions foreseen under the programme include:
- developing and making available very high-capacity networks, including 5G systems, across Europe
- supporting increased security, resilience and capacity of the digital backbone networks in the EU
- boosting the digitalisation of transport and energy networks
Cross-border 5G services
In particular, CEF will fund projects that contribute to deploying 5G infrastructures along major transport paths. Cross-border connectivity will ensure the continuity of 5G services across borders and in important industry cases. This includes for connected and automated mobility, automated manufacturing operations, and more. The investments will target motorways, ports, railways and in-land waterways to enable innovative services for passengers and goods transport. In addition, 5G will bring Gigabit connectivity to schools, hospitals and community centres to improve access to online services and digital skills.
Connectivity supporting innovation
Investments under CEF will be geared towards ensuring reliable, secure and fast networks. Strong networks will enable state of the art EU data and cloud centres to be connected across the EU. Strategic investments will bring together cloud providers and users, making more innovative platforms services available in the EU. In the same way, connectivity will foster the competitiveness of the European cloud industry, by linking existing cloud infrastructures across Europe and bring trusted services closer to citizens and businesses.
Better connections to remote areas and to international partners
Expanding and improving connectivity infrastructures, including submarine cables, will aim in connecting remote areas and islands. Submarine connectivity is essential for securing digital connections within the EU, as well as to the EU's international partners. Connectivity and access to digital services are a key element in invigorating the EU's rural communities. More so, strategic deployments of submarine cables will better link all regions of the EU with each other, as well as with the world. Investments in connectivity infrastructure will translate into better commercial, trade and research networks.
The next step is to finalise the first CEF Digital work programme and launch the corresponding calls, expected later this year. The CEF non-paper provides further details of preparation for launching the programme.