Europe Seeking EU-Wide 5G Rollout

2020 would see the launch of 5G, and the European commission wants the entire European Union to get the highly expected 5th Generation wireless internet service at the same time after the trials commences in 2018.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker spoke about the goals he has set out for the telecoms industry in a speech issued recently at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Jean-Claude Juncker who has been president of the European Commission for about 2 years now said, “We need to be connected. Our economy needs it. People need it. And we have to invest in that connectivity now”.

President Juncker noted that all urban cities which encompass railroads and major roads alike should be having full access to uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025, while at least one major city within the EU would have 5G services commercially available by 2020.

The Juncker led commission also wants all households within the European Union fixed with access to internet connectivity capable of a whooping 100Mbps and upgradeable to an even more powerful 1Gbps.

A new European Electronic Communications Code was also proposed by the commission. The new proposal has some attractive rules which are aimed at seeing more companies invest in having new infrastructures spread across the EU, inclusive of borders.

President Juncker continued his speech saying, “We want to create a new legal framework that attracts and enables investments in connectivity”, adding that “Businesses should be able to plan their investments in Europe for the next 20 years. Because if we invest in new networks and services, that is at least 1.3 million new jobs over the next decade.”

Juncker also initiated a project codenamed “WiFi4EU” which he believes would help send across free wireless internet access to villages, cities within the EU’s public centers by the year 2020.

It would be a gradual process with the first stop being to create a public voucher scheme. According to the commission, this scheme would have a starting budget of €120 million, and vouchers would be used for Wi-Fi offering in public areas, health centers, schools, parks etc.

According to the commission, this new voucher scheme could potentially skyrocket connectivity within public areas, with a estimates putting connections established daily on the WiFi platform as 40 – 50 million. The commission added that once the scheme has been adopted by the European Parliament and its member states, the financing would follow quickly. The commission hopes that at least 6,000 – 8,000 local communities would be beneficiaries of the WiFi4U project come 2020.

The Vice-President of the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, commended the move saying “Without first-class communication networks, there will be no digital single market. We need connectivity that people can afford and use while on the move. To achieve that, spectrum policies must be better coordinated across the EU. More competition and further integration of the European market will allow us to reach these goals, helped by the right environment created by the new communications code.”

EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, Günther Oettinger was quick to add that Europe has always wanted to have the 5G deployed before the rest of the continents. Insisting that this is the right time to establish a gigabyte society which would see all Europeans  both those at the country sides and those in cities all be provided with quality internet connectivity to improve their daily lives.

Leading telecom provider Vodafone responded to Juncker’s speech through its public policy director Mark Reinisch and its international policy director, Grégoire Verdeaux. The duo bared Vodafone’s agreement with President Juncker’s line of thought, saying “Vodafone welcomes the review of the EU telecoms framework resulting in today’s proposal for a new European electronic communications code and the Commission’s communication on its vision for the European gigabit society”. They also put out words on the agreement to roll-out the much needed high capacity fibres and 5G broadband equipments needed for global competitiveness.

The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) also did well to throw in some input via its Chairman Gijs Phoelich, who said, “We believe that co-investment can also be a means to ensure efficient investment in non-replicable parts of the networks.”

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