Ubiquitous digital infrastructure
ICT, Strategy & Policy

Future Network Services: communication networks for and by the Netherlands

Status project

Preliminary positive assessment National Growth Fund - elaboration phase 1

In cooperation with

Ministry of Economic Affairs, TU/e, TU Delft, Top Sector ICT, NXP, Ampleon, VTEC, NVIDEA, Nokia, Ericsson, KPN, T-Mobile, and 48 other partners

Digital infrastructure is of vital importance for the Netherlands. It is therefore imperative that future communication networks are even faster, more reliable and secure. To achieve this, a far-reaching collaboration will be needed between public and private parties, focused on researching and developing next-generation communication networks, especially 6G.

The first steps to this end have already been taken. Together with partners, we are working to realise the growth fund proposal Future Network Services (FNS).

Positive assessment from National Growth Fund committee

We are very proud that our project has gotten a positive assessment from the National Growth Fund (NGF) advice committee and that the cabinet has taken over this advice. As can be read in the committee's advice report, FNS is one of the 18 winners among 47 submitted proposals.

The FNS proposal can potentially count on an NGF subsidy of € 61 million for the first phase, to stimulate structural and sustainable economical growth in the Netherlands. If the results of this first phase are evaluated positively and the proposal for the second phase is approved, the reservation of € 142 million for the second phase can be made available.

Watch the video to find out how we work with more than 60 partners to develop 6G

Working together on 6G in the FNS growth fund proposal

TNO leads the FNS growth fund proposal and coordinates the ‘leading applications’ programme line. The aim of this programme is to build a leading Dutch and therefore European position through R&D&I in specific and interconnected parts of 6G: smart components, smart networks, and leading applications in key sectors.

Becoming a leader in these areas of 6G will strengthen the future earning power of the Dutch economy. This will be centred around the following core values: digital autonomy, reliability, and sustainability.

Read the summary of the proposal

Core partners of Future Network Services growth fund proposal

The core team further consists of: TU/e (coordinator of ‘smart components’) and TU Delft (coordinator of ‘smart networks’ and ‘strengthening the ecosystem’). The Ministry of Economic Affairs is involved on account of the public value and the areas of overlap with government policy. The work will be centred in the network technology hubs around Eindhoven, Delft-Den Haag and Groningen.

Around 60 parties, large and small, have now joined and are contributing to the further elaboration of investment proposals in specific technology, application or ecosystem development.

The large parties include NXP and Ampleon (6G semiconductor solutions), SURF (test bed infrastructure), Ericsson and Nokia (smart components and networks), KPN and T-Mobile (networks and applications), Cordis Suite and ASML (Next-Gen Remote Support), Vialis (wireless detection), and Gomibo (E-Commerce).

Smaller parties include AntenneX, ALTRUM RF, Antenna Company and Future Mobility Network.

Collaboration in the Topsector ICT

The development of network technologies is a systemic challenge, with no single problem owner and a huge number of stakeholders. Organisations from the energy, healthcare, mobility, and logistics sectors, the industry and universities, knowledge institutions, the ICT and network industries, and the government will need to work together in consortia.

TNO is therefore actively contributing to the work on Future Network Services within the Topsector ICT, which has adopted FNS as a key technology. The focus here will be on the following goals:

  • Accelerate economic growth in sectors through digitisation and innovation in communication networks.
  • Accelerate innovation in the networks themselves. Create economic value by capitalising on specific Dutch strengths in network technology.
  • Actively build up knowledge and experience for sovereignty and reliability.

The paper ‘Communication networks for and by the Netherlands’

A group of telecommunications companies, technical universities, and knowledge institutions is calling for a public-private consortium to be formed to research and develop the next generation of communication networks. They have set out their appeal and an action plan in the Topsector ICT position paper (pdf) (paper only available in Dutch).

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