The European Commission considers the rollout of 5G critical to its economic and digital growth plans. However, in a press release, it admitted that it will not be launched by the end of this year as previously set out.
The main reason for this is a delay in spectrum frequency auctions, which have occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic that’s hit Europe in the last six months.
Last week, Commission Vice-President for Digital Margrethe Vestager and the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told reporters that the health crisis meant a big setback in the launching of the next generation of technology in the EU.
According to the Commission, 5G technology and network infrastructures are crucial for Europe. It will provide new opportunities and transform the way citizens live, communicate, and work, and also promote sustainable economic growth and new jobs.
In the 5G Action Plan, the new technology was to be launched in a minimum of one city per European country by the end of 2020. Following this, all cities and transport paths were to have access to 5G connectivity by the year 2025.
In an interview, Thierry Breton said, “Obviously there’s going to be a delay. We’ve got about a four-month delay on what we had planned. That really ties in with the four months of lockdown that we’ve lived through. Now, we are urging member states to continue moving forward as quickly as possible.”
Several countries, including Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Portugal, have had to postpone auctions during the challenges in the industry during the pandemic.
But, despite the inevitable delays, the Commission still hopes to achieve its initial goals and has published documents suggesting that countries increase their own investment in 5G, as well as other broadband connectivity infrastructure.
Breton added, “We have to now make sure that deployment is carried out at harmonized speed. We have to make sure as well that the investment is there. And in the recovery plans, I’m sure there’ll be different proposals made and we’ll look at those very closely.”
“But we are not here to substitute private investment. We are there to encourage private investment as well, and also to collate good practices.”
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