The importance of connectivity during and after the COVID-19 crisis
WATCH THE RECORDING HERE
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that connectivity is essential, more than ever before, for citizens, businesses and institutions across the EU. Electronic communications networks, in particular very high capacity networks, have played a crucial role in the response to the crisis by enabling remote working, learning and healthcare, and personal communication and entertainment services.
The OECD reports that, since the start of the crisis, demand for broadband communication services has soared, with some operators experiencing as much as a 60% increase in internet traffic compared to before the crisis. Industry sources estimate that data traffic will surge throughout the region, quadrupling overall by 2026.
But a new digital divide has also emerged, not only between well-connected urban areas and rural and remote territories, but also between those who can fully benefit from an enriched, accessible and secure digital space with a full range of services, and those who cannot. The main goal for connectivity in the EU’s Digital Decade is for every European household to have access to high-speed internet coverage by 2025 and gigabit connectivity by 2030.
Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss the EU's digital future, and the value of connectivity for social and economic development. Questions to be discussed include:
- How does the EU compare with other regions and economies, including the US and Asia, in 5G development?
- What policies can best support future growing demand for mobile connectivity?
Rita Wezenbeek, Director, Connectivity, DG CNECT, European Commission
Peter Stuckmann, Head of Unit, Future Connectivity Systems, DG CNECT, European Commission
Josianne Cutajar, MEP, Member of ITRE, Substitute of REGI, European Parliament
Ben Wreschner, Chief Economist and Head of Public Affairs, Vodafone Group and GSMA Policy Group Chair
Carme Colomina, Research Fellow on European Union, disinformation and global politics at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs), and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges
Daniel Pataki, Vice-President, Policy and Regulation & Head of Europe, GSMA
Jennifer Baker, Journalist, EURACTIV
14:30 – 14:35 Welcome
14:35 - 14:50 Panellist statements
14:50 – 15:40 Discussion and Q&A
15:40 – 15:45 Closing statements
Greater inclusivity in post-pandemic connectivity push is needed
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home to policymakers the urgency of expanding connectivity, but further work is needed to ensure that its roll-out across the EU is comprehensive and inclusive, say experts working on the programme.