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Bulgaria Sets Ambitious Goal: 80% 5G Coverage by 2025
Bulgaria is poised to achieve a major connectivity milestone with plans to provide 5G access to 80% of its population by the close of 2025, as announced by Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Grigori Grigorov. The collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Communications Regulatory Commission, and mobile network operators are expected to drive this development. Grigorov disclosed this information during an event discussing opportunities for Bulgarian entities to engage in 5G projects under the Connecting Europe Facility.
This initiative is an extension of the WiFi4EU program by the European Commission, which aims to establish locations for public high-speed wireless internet access in communal areas. Bulgaria, having secured funding for 91% of its participating municipalities, stood at the forefront in terms of the number of vouchers allocated. In light of this success, Grigorov encouraged educational institutions, health facilities, and public organizations to actively participate in the forthcoming 5G project competition, leveraging available funding resources. The total budget allocated across EU countries for this endeavor amounts to EUR 51 million.
Furthermore, efforts are underway to employ funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, seeking to provide high-speed internet access to around 400,000 individuals residing in remote regions and facilitate the utilization of a 5G mobile network. An additional objective involves establishing high-speed connections, encompassing all 265 municipalities within a unified state administration network.
Bolstering the evolution of fifth-generation connectivity, mobile operators recently obtained licenses for utilizing frequencies within the 700 and 800-megahertz bands, as highlighted by Grigorov.
With the initiation of a new project competition under the Connected Europe Mechanism, improvements in application conditions have been introduced, offering participants an extended period to formulate their proposals. Stavros Kalapotas, representing the European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology, mentioned that up to 75% of investments made by applicants will be covered by European funds. The application window for this opportunity closes on February 20, 2024.
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