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Gigabit Infrastructure Act: MEPs back plans to accelerate Gigabit-Capable Connectivity Rollout

25 April 2024 09:27, Lyudmila Kalapchieva
Emission of: Tuida News 2 months ago, number of readings: 157
European Parliament

Streamlining and clarifying procedures for infrastructure permits grants

Reducing costs and bureaucratic hurdles in deploying ultra-fast networks

Legislation targets disparities between member states, and urban versus rural areas

Moving towards abolishing fees for intra-EU calls and SMS

The "Gigabit Infrastructure Act" is aimed at lowering the costs of deploying ultra-fast networks.


The legislation, already agreed upon with Council and adopted on Tuesday, will cut the expenses involved in deploying gigabit-capable networks, capable of data downloads at speeds of 1 gigabit per second. It is designed to boost investment in digital infrastructure, promote economic growth, and ensure that European businesses maintain a competitive edge in global innovation.


The Act will streamline, reduce the cost of, and speed up administrative procedures for granting permits, lessen bureaucratic obstacles for operators and national administrations, thus facilitating smoother and faster network deployment.


During negotiations with Council on the bill, MEPs secured the "tacit approval" principle, whereby permission for installing infrastructure would be automatically granted if no response is received from the administrative authority within a four-month period.


Towards the abolition of fees for intra-EU calls


The legislation also draws a political path towards the abolition of fees for end-users for intra-EU calls and SMS. By 2029, there should be no differentiation of retail prices solely based on the fact that calls are originated or terminated in different member states, the text says, subject to rules to be adopted by the European Commission by implementing act.


The legislation outlines a political pathway towards the elimination of end-user fees for intra-EU calls and SMS. By 2029, retail prices should not differ based solely on whether calls originate or terminate in different member states, the text says, subject to rules to be adopted by the European Commission by implementing act.


The agreed text also extends the existing price caps on intra-EU calls, previously set to expire in May 2024, until 2032.




"We now have a common EU approach to providing high-speed internet access to every EU citizen, bridging the connectivity gap between rural and remote areas and their urban counterparts, as well as ensuring a better coverage of transport corridors. This legislation will push us forward in the digital race" lead MEP Alin Mituța (Renew, RO) said.


On intra-EU calls, he said: "With this regulation, combined with the end of roaming fees, calling from and to anywhere in Europe will be seamlessly aligned with your domestic fees. This is the end of the border for communication. This is where EU delivers directly to its citizens. The alignment of domestic and intra-EU calls will take effect as of 2029. Meanwhile the current caps will continue to apply".


Next steps


The legislation was adopted with 594 votes to 7, with 15 abstentions. It will now have to be approved by the Council in order to become law.




Across the EU, disparities in digital access and literacy have become increasingly evident. While urban centres often benefit from the latest technological advancements, rural and remote areas can lag behind.


This digital divide not only hinders individual opportunities but also stifles the potential for regional economic growth. The Gigabit Infrastructure Act, with its emphasis on comprehensive connectivity, seeks to address this imbalance, ensuring that every European citizen, regardless of their location, can access and benefit from digital services.


Measures would facilitate access to physical infrastructure such as buildings, rooftops, facades and street furniture. They would also encourage existing physical infrastructures, such as ducts, poles, masts, antenna installations, towers, and other supporting constructions to be shared, to minimise costly civil engineering works and accelerate the roll out high-speed networks.