EC plans to install free Wi-Fi and 5G for all EU members by 2025

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European Commission aiming to provide services within nine years, with a new Electronic Communications code also proposed

The European Commission plans to bring free Wi-Fi and 5G connections to all European Union members by 2025.

EC president Jean-Claude Juncker announced the plan in his annual State of the Union address, in which he laid out three key objectives to be met by 2025:

  • Schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, hospitals and all providers of public services, should have access to 1Gbps connection
  • All households (rural and urban) to have access to download speeds of 100Mbps, which can be upgraded to 1Gbps
  • All urban areas, major roads and railways to receive uninterrupted 5G coverage. With 5G connections to be available in one major city in each EU member by 2020

Revised European Communications Code

A new European Communications Code will be proposed alongside the objectives above, to raise €500 billion in order to to carry them out. The money will come primarily from the private sector, with the EC believing the new code has the potential to create 1.3 million new jobs across the EU and boost GDP by €910 billion (£776 billion) by 2025.

The new code will aim to simplify rules to make it attractive for private companies to invest into high-quality infrastructures. Other benefits include: longer licence durations, harsher requirements to spectrum efficiently and uniting regulation of radio spectrum.

Consumer protection rights will also be improved giving EU residents more power to switch suppliers. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled will be offered more affordable internet contracts by right.

Digital Economy and Society commissioner Günther H. Oettinger said: “Connectivity is a key prerequisite for Europe’s digital future: The internet of things, digitisation of industry, cloud, big data – all this demands secure and ubiquitous connectivity, with the best speed and quality.”

“Europe has the ambition to lead on the deployment of 5G. It is time to move to a gigabit society and make sure all Europeans, whether in the countryside or in cities, can get access to a quality internet connection.”

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