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CEF 2 Digital – Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways – Works – 2021

The 2nd generation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-2 programme) “Digital” strand (2021-2027) aims to support and catalyse investments in digital connectivity infrastructures of common interest.

30 million euro

Appeal framework

Institution European Commission
Regions European Union

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Priorities and funded actions


  • To support the deployment of strategic networks as part of the Digital Global Gateway Strategy of the EU
  • To strengthen the quality of connectivity within the EU as well as third countries


This topic will support the deployment of backbone connectivity for routes within Member States, between Member States, and between the EU and third countries, including to remote territories:

1. Where there is a lack of redundancy on a route

2. Where existing or credibly planned backbone infrastructure cannot satisfy the demand, taking into account if necessary any increase in the demand linked to ongoing or credibly planned investments in the upgrade of access networks in the territories concerned

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

Among financed actions

Proposals under this topic shall address works, with the possibility to include studies.

  • For Works, the total project costs required to construct and deliver the described networking solution for the foreseen system lifetime, from end to end, including cable landing stations and the connectivity towards them will be covered under this call. In the case of satellite backbone solutions, only the costs linked to the construction of satellite ground stations and their interconnection with local networks are within the scope of the call
  • The deployment may include submarine cables systems, satellite infrastructures and connectivity to internet exchange points
  • For Studies, all preparatory work required prior to signing a contract with a supplier, such as marine ground surveys for submarine cables and application for required permits, will be covered under this call

Additional information

  • This call for proposals is an open call for proposals
  • Initial duration of the action: 36 months


  • Be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • Beneficiaries can take the form of consortia, including (local) operators, utilities, (local) authorities, investors and vendors
  • Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible for projects of common interest in the field of transport, energy and digital and for cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action
  • Total budget of the call: 40 million euro
  • Total budget of the topic “Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways – Works”: 30 million euro
  • Amount of the grant: up to 10 million euro per work project
  • Co-funding rate: up to 70% of the total eligible costs

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