Thursday, July 14, 2005

European Commission Seeks Input on Digital Divide

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on policy measures needed to bring high-speed internet access to Europe's under-served areas. There are now 40 million broadband lines in the EU, an increase of 70% over the past year, thanks to competition. Broadband coverage is increasing fast, but on average it still excludes about 15% of EU15 population, and certainly a higher percentage when taking new Member States into account. Commercial deployment in remote and scarcely populated areas has been constrained by high costs. The EC believes market forces will drive further deployment, although some areas of the EU will suffer delayed coverage or will be excluded altogether from broadband rollout.

The European Commission has just published a "Digital Divide" report examining the pros and cons of government initiatives for extending broadband coverage. Public input is sought by September 16, 2005.


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