The European Commission (EC) invited interested parties to bid for fresh funding aimed squarely at improving 5G, cloud infrastructure and high-speed Gigabit networks throughout the European Union.

A total of €258 million is currently up for grabs, and appears to be spread over 11 projects with a submission deadline of 22 March. A particular focus is being placed on 5G coverage along cross-border corridors and for local communities.

The call for proposals comes under the digital part of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF Digital), a key EU funding instrument.

The move follows the adoption of the first work programme for CEF Digital in December 2021, which earmarked more than €1 billion in funding for the period from 2021 to 2023.

A total planned budget for CEF Digital is up to €2 billion by 2027.

The entire Connecting Europe Facility programme, which supports investment in trans-European digital, transport, and energy networks, is worth €33.7 billion from 2021 to 2027.

A initial generation of CEF, covering 2014 to 2020, contributed to free Wi-Fi programme WiFi4EU, along with other cross-border digital infrastructures and services, the EC noted.