Gigabit Infrastructure Act: towards Europe’s digital transformation


Gigabit Infrastructure Act: Towards Europe’s transformation of the connectivity sector

In the digital era we live in, connectivity plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development of any region, since it is crucial to enable smarter, easier and more innovative solutions for citizens, businesses and governments. Europe faces thus a global challenge: ensuring reliable, fast, and scalable connectivity to support its digitalization efforts and preserve its competitiveness on the international stage. The need for future-proof connectivity networks capable of meeting the growing technological and digital demands has, in fact, become an absolute priority for European leaders and all those who aspire to a continent at the forefront of innovation and digital transformation. High-speed connectivity and ubiquitous access to broadband have become fundamental requirements for economic competitiveness and social participation, and businesses, government entities, research institutions, and individuals increasingly rely on digital networks to carry out their daily activities, communicate, acquire knowledge, and innovate. To achieve this ambitious goal it is crucial to invest in future-proof connectivity networks, which will not only provide a solid foundation for the development of advanced digital services and applications but also facilitate the creation of a secure, inclusive, and sustainable digital ecosystem that will foster economic growth, employment, and social inclusion.

The new measures presented by the European Commission for connectivity

In the context outlined above, on February 23rd, 2023, the European Commission introduced a series of new initiatives, namely the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, the Draft New Gigabit Recommendation and an Exploratory Consultation on the future of the connectivity sector and its infrastructure, taking a significant step towards ensuring that every citizen in the EU has access to high-speed internet by 2030.

The Gigabit Infrastructure Act

The Gigabit Infrastructure Act aims to ensure that every citizen, business, and public institution can benefit from reliable, fast, and future-proof broadband connection, representing a concrete response to the need to accelerate the deployment of high-speed gigabit connectivity across Europe.

Under the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, the European Commission plans to mobilize substantial public and private investments to bridge the digital divide and support the digital transformation of the continent, with the goal to achieve comprehensive gigabit coverage across Europe by 2030, enabling Europe to keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital landscape and remain globally competitive.

Draft Gigabit Recommendations

The draft Gigabit Recommendations provide guidance to National Regulatory Authorities regarding access to networks operated by dominant market players. Its aim is to ensure fair access for all operators to existing network infrastructure and, by doing so, it establishes a conducive regulatory environment, encourages the timely phase-out of outdated technologies and promotes the rapid deployment of Gigabit networks, ultimately contributing to the creation of a unified electronic communications market in Europe, delivering better services through high-quality networks at affordable prices.


Consultation on the future of the telecoms sector

In addition to the Gigabit Infrastructure Act and the Gigabit Recommendation document, an exploratory consultation has been initiated by the European Commission in order to gather opinions on the evolution of the technological landscape and the market, and how it can impact the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure.

Prysmian Group’s support for the European Commission’s connectivity goals

At Prysmian, we actively participated in the consultation described above by submitting a brief position paper in which we fully support the Commission's ambitious objective that recognizes the crucial role played by fiber in achieving it and in which we provided some recommendations.

Fibre optic cables are, in fact, vital for the deployment of very high-capacity networks and gigabit connectivity. Prysmian, as a leader in the industry, is continuously innovating its products to be future-proof and sustainable, while also reducing reliance on foreign suppliers to maintain EU digital sovereignty. Due to its extensive range of products and services, Prysmian can deliver the full supply chain for next-generation networks, offering everything from pre-form and fibre to cable and connectivity hardware, ensuring that customers have access to a complete range of solutions and to a leading innovation capability. This comprehensive approach means that Prysmian can support the development of next generation networks and provide the necessary infrastructure to enable cutting-edge communications technologies.

The Group’s Recommendations on the EU connectivity initiatives

Prysmian Group has drawn up some recommendations for the Draft Gigabit Recommendation and the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and reliable approach to fibre infrastructure that includes long-term planning, market-based competition and the deployment of high-quality passive optical network solutions.

In particular, as regards the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, Prysmian Group fully supports the initiative, and offers the European Commission the following recommendations:

  • Optimize digital security to protect against cyber threats;
  • Support the installation of a dense and ubiquitous optical network to ensure that the infrastructure can meet the needs of future technologies
  • Encourage the use of high-quality components to ensure that the network is future-proof and can scale up as new technologies emerge;
  • Offer incentives to optimize the Total Cost of Ownership to help reduce the costs of installation and maintenance, ensuring the network is affordable for all users;
  • Require sustainable construction practices by mandating that network operators reduce their carbon footprint and use less invasive components during installation.

“Prysmian recommends and supports the building of sustainable optical networks, while optimizing the total cost of deployment, maximizing the security of the components, and selecting future-proofed components. We believe that achieving the EU’s Gigabit connectivity targets requires a comprehensive strategy that combines the latest technologies with resilient, autonomous, secured, and sustainable supply chains. By prioritizing technology and supply chain autonomy, we can build a solid foundation for digitalisation and ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of innovation and progress. This is a critical consideration not only for current connectivity initiatives but also for future EU actions, including the Commission’s new mandate from 2024.”

Philippe Vanhille

Executive Vice President Telecom - Prysmian Group