The Connectivity Toolbox
The Connectivity Toolbox (.pdf) is a set of best practices for timely rolling out 5G and fast broadband. On the one hand, the measures help network operators reduce the cost of deploying networks. On the other, Member States can use these measures to give operators access to the spectrum they need to rollout 5G and to encourage operators to further invest in 5G coverage. The Connectivity Toolbox is the result of exchanges between Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, following the Commission’s Recommendation.
The Connectivity Toolbox Recommendation
In September 2020, the Commission adopted a Recommendation calling Member States to boost investment in very high-capacity broadband connectivity infrastructure, including fibre and 5G. The aim of the Recommendation is for Member States to develop a Toolbox of best practices for reducing the cost of deploying electronic communications networks and for efficient access to 5G radio spectrum. The Member States will share their experiences with each other in order to focus their actions on measures that work best in rolling out advanced networks.
Connectivity Special Group
The Connectivity Special Group, composed of Member States’ representatives responsible in the area of electronic communications and the Commission as established in its terms of reference (.pdf), aims to assist Member States in identifying and agreeing on the best practices, and, upon request, in the implementation and reporting of the Toolbox.
The Connectivity Special Group was established in October 2020 as a cooperation platform. It is supported by two subgroups:
- a subgroup on the reduction of the cost of deploying electronic communications networks
- a subgroup focused on access to 5G radio spectrum
The Connectivity Special Group is co-chaired by a representative of the current Presidency of the Council and a representative of the incoming Presidency of the Council, as well as by a representative of the Commission, which is also acting as the secretariat of the Group.
The Connectivity Special Group is engaging, where appropriate, with the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), the Body of European Regulators or Electronic Communications (BEREC), national regulatory authorities (NRAs), the Broadband Competence Offices network (BCO network) and competent authorities in charge of the functions of the single information point. The list of the Connectivity Special Group members (.pdf) is available.
Calendar and main deliverables
The Connectivity Toolbox Recommendation establishes clear milestones to be accomplished by the Member States in close cooperation with the Commission:
- By 20 December 2020: Member States identify and share between themselves and with the Commission best practices in reducing the cost and increasing the speed of deploying very high capacity networks, as well as ensuring timely and investment-friendly access to 5G radio spectrum. On 18 December 2020, the Connectivity Special Group adopted a report compiling all the information on best practices provided by Member States.
- By 30 March 2021: Member States agree on a Union Toolbox of best practices on Connectivity.
- By 30 April 2021: Member States provide the Commission with roadmaps for the implementation of the Toolbox.
- By 30 April 2022: Member States share implementation reports on the measures in the Connectivity Toolbox. The Commission published an overview of the state of implementation.