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Call key data
Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gatewys - works
Connecting Europe Facility - Digital
Estimated EU contribution per project
max. € 20,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The objective of this call is to support the deployment of strategic networks as part of the Digital Global Gateway Strategy of the EU, contributing to strengthen the quality of connectivity within the Union as well as with third countries. This call is technology neutral. The applicants should justify that their proposal provides the best technology suited for the call objectives, which may include submarine cables systems, satellite infrastructures and connectivity to internet exchange points.
This topic will support the deployment of backbone connectivity for routes within Member States (including OCTs), between Member States (including OCTs), and between Member States (including OCTs) and third countries:
(1) where there is a lack of redundancy on a route. This is typically the case of routes which are not served by at least two present or credibly planned backbone infrastructures; or
(2) where existing or credibly planned backbone infrastructure cannot reliably satisfy the demand, taking into account, the increase in demand linked to ongoing or credibly planned investments in the upgrade of access networks in territories concerned. The utilisation of existing capacity as well as the expected lifetime of existing backbone networks are among the elements that may be taken into account to justify such a market failure and the urgency of intervention; or
(3) where despite the presence of a backbone infrastructure providing sufficient capacity and guaranteeing the necessary redundancy, in the absence of credible plans from alternative operators to enter the market, the users in the served territories suffer (or could suffer in the absence of adequate regulatory remedies) from suboptimal services or prices compared to those offered in more competitive but otherwise comparable areas or routes. This could be the case for instance if the backbone infrastructure or a substantial part of it is in the hands of an operator which according to a competent national regulatory authority has significant market power in the relevant market.
Please consult the Call document for more information on the scope, including digital security requirements.
Expected effects and impacts
The expected benefits go beyond those directly related to supported projects and contribute to bridging the digital divide and ensuring widespread access to Gigabit networks for all EU citizens and businesses. Moreover, this connectivity infrastructure can cross-facilitate the implementation of other topics supported under CEF Digital, such as the availability of HPC-related facilities, etc.
Key performance indicators for this topic will include: i) the total length of the backbone or, for wireless solutions, the distance between transmission/reception stations, and ii) the additional (significant) transmission capacity created as a result of the projects supported by CEF. For submarine cables the number of fibre pairs, the current capacity per fibre pair, as well as the technology chosen and whether the system is repeated or unrepeated should be mentioned in the proposal, too.
By supporting the targeted deployment of such connectivity, CEF Digital will have a positive impact not only on strengthening the connectivity capacity, but also on stimulating commercial offers of connectivity.
Access to backbone connectivity in EU Member States differs significantly. In certain regions a lack of adequate backbone connectivity may have an impact on the development of and service provided by access networks and generate possible imbalances in the prices of services, both for network operators in these regions, as well as for the users.
In particular, the connectivity situation for Member States that are themselves islands and/or have islands as part of their territory differs significantly from other Member States. For some remote territories such as islands, Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories, commercial prices and other conditions of backbone connectivity may hinder the full participation of both users and enterprises in the digital European economy.
Furthermore, the infrastructures connecting remote territories may be ageing or insufficient, which poses risks to the resilience of those regions, both from an economic and social point of view, especially in case of insufficient redundancy and available capacity of other alternative infrastructures to connect the regions.
In such areas, market forces alone may not provide answers to all of these challenges. As a result, certain areas may remain underserved or experience higher prices for access to backbone connectivity.
Regions / countries for funding
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
Please note however that this call is subject to restrictions due to security reasons. This means that only the following countries are eligible: EU Member States. Participation in any capacity (as beneficiary, affiliated entity, associated partner, subcontractor or recipient of financial support to third parties) is limited to entities from eligible countries.
- Entities from other countries (not listed above) are exceptionally eligible for projects of common interest, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.
- Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legalpersonality separate from that of the natural person).
- International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
- Entities without legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guaranteesfor the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
other eligibility criteria
The costs will be reimbursed at the funding rates fixed in the Grant Agreement (maximum 50% for the costs of studies, maximum 70% for the costs of works in outermost regions, and maximum 30% for all other costs categories (‘project funding rate’)). You can apply for a higher project funding rate if your project concerns: strong cross-border dimension: maximum 50%.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have threeparts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), and the summarised budget for the project
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
- Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
Mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded)
- detailed budget table per Work Package (template available in the Submission System). The detailed budget table should contain one or several dedicated work packages related to the use case(s).
- activity reports of the last finalized accounting year (unless exempted from operational capacity check; see section 7 of call document)
- list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years) (template available in Part B)
- timetable/Gantt chart (template available in the Submission System)
- letters of support (Member States agreement) (template available in the Submission System, the list of MS contact points is published in the HADEA website)
- ownership control questionnaire (including for subcontractors and associated partners, template available in the Submission System)
- security declarations signed by the participating entities (template available in the Submission System)
- security guarantees approved by the respective authorities of the associated third country or other third country, in case of third country entities participation (template available in the Submission System). Exceptionally, should a third country require more time to provide its approval, the applicants must submit, by the call deadline, a copy of the security guarantee and the acknowledgment of receipt of the request by the third country. In this case, the security guarantees approved by the third country must be sent by the proposal coordinator to HADEA-CEF-DIGITAL-CALLS@ec.europa.eu by 18 March 2024, 17:00:00 CET (Brussels) at the latest, identified with the proposal ID in the email subject.
- declaration from the coordinator, on behalf of the consortium, that the planned backbone infrastructure addresses a market failure in terms of lack of redundancy, capacity or another type of market failure as described in section 2 (to be uploaded in the Submission System in “Other annexes”)
- business plan financial spreadsheet (for works proposals, template available in the Submission System)
- other annexes
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 120 pages.