Call for proposals: from connectivity to innovation for better community services
Today, a fast and high performing network can allow students to access an increasingly personalised education and patients to receive tailored assistance and treatment online. Similarly, villages, rural communities or cities can increase the efficiency of their health system or public transport and preserve resources for a more sustainable future. It all starts with equipping the communities with consistently fast, responsive and reliable connectivity.
The Commission launched a call to support 5G innovative applications for public services in towns across the EU. The funding, coming from the recently adopted Connecting Europe Facility – Digital Programme, intends to cover the deployment of 5G infrastructure elements required to implement innovations in services that are essential for citizens’ daily lives. These could mean high performance networks for a digital education ecosystem or for a health centre wishing to implement electronic health records, real time medical imaging and patient health monitoring.
The call for proposals are open to telecom operators, who, in applying for the call, should be joined by public administrations and entities providing public services to act as users of the deployed connectivity. The focus of the call is to fund elements of 5G infrastructure that will enable innovative use cases like smart health, smart education or any service of general interest. The programme aims to reach those communities where high-quality 5G services are not yet available. The projects are required to involve local public administrations and services of general interest as providers of the use cases.
The call for proposals is open until 22 March 2022.
Interested applicants can attend an online info day to learn more about the call.
The EU supports free connectivity
Everyone should have access to fast and reliable internet connections – it is a way to tap into a sea of resources for growth, education and enrichment. The Commission has been supporting European municipalities in bringing fast and free internet to their communities. Between 2018 and 2020, the WiFi4EU initiative has seen 8,802 vouchers distributed across 30 participating countries. The vouchers, each worth EUR 15,000, go towards installing or upgrading Wi-Fi equipment in public spaces, such as town squares, parks, libraries, schools and hospitals. A great number of European municipalities registered to participate in the four WiFi4EU calls and they exceeded the number of available vouchers each time. The initiative has reached EU capitals, small villages, rural regions and EU territories across the world, significantly contributing to the bridging the digital divide. There are more than 70,000 WiFi4EU hotspots and the number is growing as municipalities install their networks.
5G for smart communities builds on and extends the experience of WiFi4EU to accelerate the rollout of 5G in Europe, in line with the new connectivity targets set for 5G deployment by end of the Digital Decade, i.e. making fast connectivity available in all populated areas.
Look out for the WiFi4EU signs across Europe and stay connected!