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Cellnex snaps up 6 projects for cross-border 5G in Europe

The European Commission has given tower company Cellnex six 5G deployment projects designed to bolster connectivity, including four cross border transport corridors between Portugal, Spain and France.

The project, made up of four deployments and two studies, includes setting up 5G coverage in two road corridors linking Spain with France (Barcelona – Montpellier/Toulouse and Bilbao – Bordeaux) and two corridors linking Spain with Portugal (Salamanca – Porto – Vigo and Mérida – Évora).

The two studies are about linking Italy, Austria and the EUMOB project with Abertis – which is described as an ‘essential enabler for connected and automated mobility in the future.’

The point of the project, which comes under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-2) Digital programme, is to provide uninterrupted 5G connectivity for road safety services, and connectivity for vehicles travelling along these corridors.

Cellnex will deploy 34 sites (including distributed antenna systems in tunnels), and plans to work with operators using its neutral host model, bolstered by a V2X communications infrastructure network and edge computing nodes, to provide the 5G connectivity across the 1,400 km that makes up the four cross-border corridors.

“Cellnex is investing in the benefit that digitalising these road corridors will bring, not only for connected vehicles but also for road network managers, emergency services, logistics and fleet operators as well as passengers themselves,” said Eduardo Fichmann, Global Director of Innovation and Product Strategy at Cellnex. “Mobile operators and the various public and private actors in the mobility sector to join the project and collaborate in developing new services that will be possible thanks to the roll-out of these infrastructures.”

The projects will cost €24 million, 50% of which will be stumped up by the European Commission. They are due to start in January 2023 and are expected to be completed by December 2025.

Apart from keeping the sat nav working and the kids streaming Peppa Pig in the back, continuous 5G connections between the countries of Europe – where you might switch over from one operator to another – have also been held up as crucial for the future of fully fledged autonomous driving, if it turns out there is one.

As well as these cross-border connectivity projects that Cellnex will be carrying out, The EU seems particularly keen to throw cash at schemes that are looking at the practicalities of self-driving cars within its bloc. One of the key issues being if one were to be relaxing and watching the world go by as the car drives itself across Europe, it would be sub-optimal for it to suddenly loose the plot when its 5G connectivity cuts out as it crosses a border.

 

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