Commission calls for internet investment
Styled as ‘the digital agenda for Europe’, the Commission’s blueprint aspires to see more than half of households with broadband connections of more than 100Mbps by 2010. Private homes tend to have broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps. Concerned that the roll-out of the next generation of fibre-optic broadband networks in Europe is lagging behind the US and Japan, the Commission wants to increase funding and introduce regulatory rules to stimulate private investment. It also aspires to reduce the difference in tariffs between roaming and home-country mobile-phone calls to near zero by 2015.
The agenda includes removing legal barriers to the availability of creative online content (eg, music and videos). The Commission will present draft legislation in 2011 to simplify copyright licensing, and will legislate this year to remove barriers to the digitisation of orphan works (books whose copyright holder cannot be located).
The agenda was welcomed by the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Bridget Cosgrave, director-general of the industry group DigitalEurope, said that the agenda, and the Commission’s accompanying report on digital competitiveness, should be “required reading” for ministers in all member states.
Graham Taylor, chief executive of the industry group OpenForum Europe, said: “The Commission is right to see the reform of ICT standardisation as an essential and urgent requirement.”
The Commission plans to launch a consultation this year on other steps to promote online distribution of audiovisual content, with legislative proposals to follow in 2012.
Source: European Voice