Connectivity Toolbox: Member States agree on best practices to boost timely deployment of 5G and fibre networks

On 25 March 2021, the Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, agreed on a Union-wide Connectivity Toolbox, pursuant to the Connectivity Recommendation of 18 September 2020. The Toolbox consists of a set of best practices that are considered as the most efficient in allowing and encouraging operators to roll out very high capacity networks.

The best practices will help network operators to reduce the cost of gigabit broadband deployment and Member States to adopt an efficient approach for ensuring timely and investment-friendly access to 5G spectrum to mobile operators and other users of spectrum, including for industrial applications.

Connectivity has supported citizens, businesses and public administrations through the pandemic, it will be an essential pillar of the recovery. The swift implementation of the Connectivity Toolbox will enable Member States to fully exploit the potential of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Earlier this month the Commission presented a Communication on Europe’s Digital Decade that sets out the aim to connect all European households with gigabit speeds and to ensure 5G coverage for all populated areas in the EU as well as major transport routes. The Connectivity Toolbox will continue playing a fundamental role as the EU steps into the Digital Decade.

The Connectivity Toolbox contains best practices to cut costs and speed up network rollout, to promote access to physical infrastructure and to streamline permit granting procedures to carry out civil works. As part of these efforts, the Connectivity Toolbox calls on enhancing the availability of information about existing physical infrastructure, planned civil works and permit procedures through the Single Information Points or equivalent platforms, as well as to promote the electronic handling of all permit granting application procedures. More so, Member States are encouraged to facilitate the installation of network elements, in particular relevant for 5G, by giving operators greater access to public infrastructure (in a similar manner as the European Electronic Communications Code already provides for small cells).

The Connectivity Toolbox focusses on measures that incentivise spectrum use and 5G rollout. In addition, the Connectivity Toolbox promotes coordinated measures that support wireless connectivity for industrial use cases, including with a cross-border dimension. Furthermore, the Connectivity Toolbox includes proposals for Member States to address general public interest, namely to increase transparency and information about 5G and public health protection.

You can find the Connectivity Toolbox in application:

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