European Commission lays out 5G goal, promises less regulation

By 2025, all cities and transport links in the EU should have uninterrupted 5G coverage, according to EC president Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech for 2016.

In addition, Juncker unveiled the European Electronic Communications Code, including “forward-looking and simplified” rules intended to make it more attractive for firms to invest in infrastructure, both locally and across national markets.

Ahead of the 2025 target, each EU member state must offer commercial 5G in at least one major city by 2020.

The EC’s connectivity targets are likely to require €500 billion of investment over the coming decade, largely coming from private firms. However, under current estimates, there is likely to be a shortfall of €155 billion.

To make up the shortfall, the Commission is proposing to modernise current telecoms regulation.

The new code involves “substantially” reducing regulation where rival operators jointly invest in high-speed networks, so easing the way for smaller players to be part of larger projects. Also, the intention is to make it more attractive for first movers to invest in less profitable areas, for instance in rural locations.

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