The European Union has approved EUR 1.2 billion in public funding to help develop a new edge computing infrastructure in Europe. Telecom operators Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica are among the participants in the Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services project, which will receive funding from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

In total 19 companies are participating in what has been labelled an ‘Important Project of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI), allowing it to receive extra public support under the EU’s state aid rules. They will develop open-source software for real-time and low-latency network services that bring distributed computing resources close to the end-user, thereby reducing the need to transmit large volumes of data to centralised cloud servers. The 19 individual projects cover the entire cloud edge continuum, from the basic software layer to sector-specific applications.

The research, development and first industrial deployment phases will run in the period to 2031, with timelines varying depending on the project and the companies involved. The first novel result, an open-source reference infrastructure, is expected around the end of 2027, according to the European Commission. 

DT and Telefonica are participating in the cloud-edge continuum infrastructure workstream, while Orange, Atos and TIM are among the companies working on cloud-edge capabilities. Hungary’s 4iG and Tiscali are part of the workstream for advanced data processing tools and services, and the advanced applications workstream is led by Siemens, Fincantieri and Engineering, Ingeneria Informatica.

In addition to the public funding, the project is expected to attract another EUR 1.4 billion in private investment. Over 90 other companies are indirect partners on the IPCEI for Cloud Infrastructure and Services and may benefit from smaller amounts of public funding under other EU research programmes. 

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