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EU's digital agenda to bring faster broadband for Europe

19 мая 2010

The European Commission has set as a top priority the bringing about of ultra fast broadband within the 27-nation European Union to facilitate growth in its telecoms sector, according to the European Commission's plan for the industry.

The five-year plan, which sets out telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes' vision for the future of the industry concentrates on infrastructure development as well as encouraging the creation of Europe wide online content market in areas such as music and film.

The commission's plan known as the "digital agenda" clearly states that for Europe's telecommunications market to grow and develop, much needs to be done in terms of modernizing the ancient European regulatory framework which still splits the continent on national fault lines.

The Internet's potential for "doing business, working, playing, communicating and expressing ourselves freely," should be maximized, according to a draft plan seen by Dow Jones.

On the broadband networks, the commission wants to provide the correct incentives to stimulate private investment while also allowing targeted public investment in areas which might not otherwise be developed. And provisions will have to be made to ensure access for competitors, so that the new fiber networks will not remain solely at the hands of a few incumbents.

Opening access to online content is vital, as Europe is lagging far behind the US. For example, legal music downloads in Europe are only one quarter of the level in the US, the commission says. In Europe the only EU-wide digital music market is "the illegal one", the commission says.

While the five-year plan is more of a wish list for commissioner Kroes in terms of what she wants to achieve during her term, it does give clear indication where the commission is ready to propose new laws to expedite the digital vision.

Some areas where the commission is ready to propose new regulation concern the lack of clear rules for public and private investment in upgrading old copper networks into fiber; the fragmentation of radio spectrum on national markets, and a lack of pan-European rights management of digital copyright levies.

Источник: Total Telecom

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