Budapest Visegrad Group Call for Action on Connectivity
Boosting connectivity in the heart of Europe
We, the Ministers and representatives of the Visegrad Group, gathered in Budapest on 8 November 2017, share a common vision towards the next generation of connectivity in our countries.
While there is a great deal of uncertainty in the world today, digital transformation has undoubtedly become a phenomenon that fundamentally affects all sectors of the economy and each layer of the society. Therefore, anything we do in the Visegrad Group countries in connection to digital transformation must be considered not only from a regional or European point of view, but from the perspective of the global economic trends and competitiveness.
Compared to other shifts, the main characteristic of digital transformation is that it has an immediate and well perceivable effect on our citizens, companies and public administration. Digital transformation has recently accelerated in all Visegrad Group countries: the digital economy is already contributing vastly to the GDP and provides jobs for a significant number of the employed. However, we have to further improve the region’s digital economy by relentlessly working together to keep up with the pace of global trends and better connect our businesses and citizens.
We therefore call for the following actions to be at the forefront of connectivity:
- Recognise that connectivity, in particular 5G, high-speed optical fibre broadband and public wireless networks are the cornerstone of digital transformation leading to a competitive digital economy as well as a digital society providing equal opportunities for all.
- Encourage the region and Visegrad Group countries to play a significant role in 5G development, testing and market deployment in Europe. 5G will offer extraordinary bandwidth, high flexibility and really low latency, thus being an enabler of data-hungry developments in every sector, from autonomous and connected cars to transportation, logistics, healthcare, agriculture, robotics, Industry 4.0, entertainment and so on.
- Confirm that our countries must be at the forefront of next generation developments, ensuring ubiquitous high-speed connectivity for our businesses and citizens.
- Recognise the added value of investing into local testbeds to test intelligent cooperation of networks, devices and applications; emphasise the need for regional stakeholders to become pioneers in 5G application testing.
- Call upon stakeholders to ensure sufficient backbone infrastructure to meet increased capacity need. Optical fibre networks will be essential to realise the full potential of 5G.
- Reiterate the need to deploy high-speed broadband to every household, company and public institution; emphasise the importance of deploying Wi-Fi in public areas to offload capacity and widen access to digital services.
- Facilitate an open exchange of ideas among policy makers, service operators and providers, as well as civic and academic organisations on key policy and technological issues related to coverage, interoperability, standardisation, spectrum availability, cell implementation, interference or open access.
- Encourage stakeholders to cooperate in an open and transparent manner. Urge strategic dialogue, partnerships, peer learning and experience sharing to foster next generation connectivity in the region.
- Recognise financial dimension of developing very high capacity networks and 5G connectivity and call for more effort into overcoming this barrier including through review of existing legislation and EU multiannual financial frameworks.
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