Brussels, 4 December 2017
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., today endorsed the 5G Roadmap for Europe.
Minister Naughten was attending a formal meeting of the Telecommunications Council held in Brussels.
The 5G Roadmap is a common political timeline which sends a clear message to those businesses which are ready to invest in the next generation of mobile networks, that the EU is serious about moving towards 5G. It also sends a strong signal to citizens that EU Member States are committed to delivering the gigabit society by 2025.
Speaking in Brussels, Minister Naughten said: "Investment in infrastructure for connectivity is key to developing European 5G, and that is what I am committed to in the roll out of Ireland's National Broadband Plan. We can look at fibre as the new electricity system of tomorrow and I am pleased to report that there was unanimous agreement amongst Ministers on the importance of fibre. I have asked the European Commission today to provide clarity going forward in respect of State Aid rules on infrastructure investment. The ambiguity in respect of the rules in this area causes delay in State investment, and it also makes private investment decisions more difficult. We need a combination of public and private investment to roll out state of the art 5G in Ireland and the EU in the future."
The Council began proceedings today with a policy debate on the new Free Flow of Data proposal, which sets the rules for the flow of non-personal data between EU Member States. On the importance of the Free Flow of Data proposal, Minister Naughten commented: "Free Flow of Data goes hand in hand with 5G. The proposal, which is one we have long called for, represents a significant opportunity for Europe in setting the rules around the free movement of non-personal data. In the long term, this will be essential in order to realise fully connected future Smart Cities. The Internet of Things is exploding: between now and 2020 every second of every day, 600 ordinary items will be connected to the internet. In the short term, Free Flow of Data will make it easier for all businesses to use and store data across EU borders and should lead to increased competition in data storage and software solutions."
While in Brussels, Minister Naughten held formal bilateral talks with the Bulgarian and Greek Telecoms Ministers, and participated in a number of informal exchanges with several of his European ministerial colleagues.