Telecoms in the government’s plan for 2021
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According to the work plan for 2021, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers, among the 19 issues, only one of them will concern directly telecommunications. It pertains to the development of broadband internet in Poland, which consists of five points: the introduction of the Electronic Communications Law, the Broadband Fund, establishing the final version of the National Reconstruction Plan, NASK co-financing and the implementation of an educational and information project.
Electronic communication law
The first point concerns the introduction of the Electronic Communications Law (PKE), which will contribute to the introduction of the European Electronic Communications Code into Polish law. Work on the draft is still protracted, as the legislative process was to be completed at the end of 2020 due to EU regulations. However, despite the earlier assumptions about the rapid adoption of the law, it is possible that the process will take even longer.
Another plan concerns the launch of support from the Broadband Fund, which in fact was already implemented in the previous year. At that time, the pandemic contributed to the need for funding for distance learning equipment. Most likely, this year, the fund with a value of around PLN 130m will start regulatory activities, but it is still unclear whether it will refinance one of the quarantine requirements or focus on the Operational Program Cyfrowa Polska or POIG 8.3.
National Reconstruction Plan
It was also announced that the plans of the Telecommunications Department would be included in the final version of the National Reconstruction Plan, as well as work on the rules for allocating funds from the Cohesion Fund. Digitization is one of the priorities both for the Cohesion Fund, which is expressed in a fairly broad range of activities, and for the Reconstruction Fund, which speaks directly about 5G and building cross-border connections. It is not known yet how much money can be counted, but the Reconstruction Fund itself can provide up to PLN 21bn in subsidies and PLN 31bn in low-interest loans.
According to the plan for this year, it was the Scientific and Academic Computer Network that received funds from the European Union for co-financing the project of the National Telecommunications Network. It is possible that the EU budget may also be used to implement new plans to build public telecommunications networks, i.e. a 5G network and a government operator.
Educational and information project „Efficient mobile telecommunications as a key to development and security”
The last point is an information campaign aimed at reducing public concern about the implementation of telecommunications investments, primarily the construction of the 5G network. This three-year project aims to raise awareness of digital competences and the impact of electromagnetic fields, and the performance and importance of networks. The subsidy in the amount of PLN 10m was transferred from the technical funds of the Operational Program Cyfrowa Polska for the implementation of the program already in the previous year.