Staying connected is a vital part of our lives. We all share a desire to keep in contact with one another, no matter how far apart we are. This desire was even stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many of us were kept apart from loved ones for a long time.
Connectivity allows us to reach and connect with others no matter where they are in the world. It puts countless possibilities in the palm of our hands: we can read the latest news whenever and wherever we find convenient, follow online classes, learn skills, and seek advice from professors and professionals no matter how far away they are. And, we can browse online markets to find the most convenient products and services, or offer our own products to customers around the world.
The EU has taken action in a range of areas to improve connectivity. It ended roaming charges, allowing us to take our mobile subscriptions on our travels through the EU at no extra cost. The WiFi4EU initiative funded the setup of free Wi-Fi hotspots in local communities.
The EU also provides funding, develops technical guidance and brings together experts to support public administrations and businesses working to improve network coverage and introduce 5G networks across Europe.
The focus now is on creating a Europe with harmonised rules for connectivity services, so that we can enjoy the same benefits no matter where we are in the EU. EU action also helps to bring more choice to consumers, reduce bills, and set a higher standard of service.
Actions already taken at EU level include:
- introducing the European electronic communications code, which sets clear rules applicable across all of Europe
- supporting wireless networks such as 5G through the radio spectrum policy programme
- ending of roaming charges in the EU, and a price-cap on communications within the EU
- leading global discussions on Internet development and governance
The main goal for connectivity in the Digital Decade is for every European household to have access to high-speed internet coverage by 2025 and gigabit connectivity by 2030.