Connecting Europe Facility - Digital
The 2nd generation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-2 programme) “Digital” strand (2021-2027) aims to support and catalyse investments in digital connectivity infrastructures of common interest. The programme has a total budget of €2,065 billion, of which €1,7 billion is managed by HaDEA. Actions foreseen under CEF-2 Digital include the:
- Deployment of/access to very high-capacity networks, including 5G systems, capable of providing Gigabit connectivity in areas where socioeconomic drivers are located;
- Provision of very high-quality local wireless connectivity in local communities that is free of charge and without discriminatory conditions;
- Uninterrupted coverage of 5G systems on all major transport paths, including the trans-European transport networks;
- Deployment of new or significant upgrade of existing backbone networks including submarine cables, both within/between the EU Member States and third countries;
- Implementation of digital connectivity infrastructures related to cross-border transport and energy projects and/or the support of operational digital platforms directly associated to these infrastructures.
The first generation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-1) “Telecom” strand (2014-2020) facilitated the cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses and citizens, by deploying Digital Service Infrastructures (DSI), connectivity in local communities (WiFi4EU) and broadband networks (through equity and loan instruments).
With a budget of approximately €1 billion, of which €203 million is now managed by HaDEA, the programme supported two types of digital services:
- Re-usable digital services that can be integrated into/combined with other projects, covering eIdentification, eSignature, eInvoicing, eDelivery and Automated Translation (building blocks)
- Specific digital service infrastructures covering areas such as cyber security, eHealth, European Platform for Digital Jobs and Skills, Business Registers Interconnection System, Europeana, eProcurement, Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information, Public Open Data, European e-Justice Portal, Safer Internet and online dispute resolution.
The programme also supported the WiFi4EU initiative, enabling European municipalities to offer free Wi-Fi connectivity in public spaces, such as parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres and museums in municipalities throughout Europe.
The WiFi4EU initiative promotes free access to Wi-Fi connectivity for citizens and visitors in public spaces including parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, health centres and museums in municipalities throughout Europe.
Funded by the predecessor programme of CEF Digital (i.e. CEF Telecom), as part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy, the initiative was open to municipalities from all EU Member States and participating EEA countries (Norway and Iceland).
WiFi4EU vouchers worth €15,000 each were distributed via four calls for applications in 2018-2020 to 8,802 municipalities with an overall budget of €132 million. Using the services of local WiFi installation companies, the selected municipalities are using the vouchers to install functioning Wi-Fi hotspots within 18 months after being awarded the voucher.
Please note that, as HaDEA website is still under development, all of WiFi4EU call documents and other information are still stored on the INEA website.