Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Europe's Digital Agenda Seeks Universal Broadband at 30+ Mbps

The European Commission outlined its Digital Agenda for the next decade, including seven goals aimed at promoting economic growth and spreading the benefits of the digital era to all sections of society. These seven goals are: (1) creating a digital Single Market, (2) greater interoperability, (3)boosting Internet trust and security, (4) much faster Internet access, (5) more investment in research and development, (6) enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and (7) applying information and communications technologies to address challenges facing society like climate change and the ageing population.

Commissioners said the need for a single Digital Market is brought on by the observation that Europe is still a patchwork of national online markets, making it difficult for eCommerce to be conducted across borders. For instance, there are four times as many music downloads in the US as in the EU because of the lack of legal offers and fragmented markets. The plan would address this by simplifying copyright clearance, management and
licensing, and ensuring a single market for online payments.

To ensure cybersecurity, the Digital Agenda proposes to set up a European rapid response system to cyber-attacks, including a network of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). It proposes a reinforced role for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), along with tougher laws to combat cyber attacks against information systems. By 2013, the plan call for related rules on jurisdiction in cyberspace at European and international levels.

On high-speed access, the EU aims to bring basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 and to
ensure that, by 2020, all Europeans have access to speeds 30 Mbps and above, with 50% or more of European households subscribing to Internet access above 100 Mbps. To reach this goal, two parallel paths are recommended: on the one hand, to guarantee universal broadband coverage (combining fixed and wireless) with
Internet speeds gradually increasing up to 30 Mbps and above. On the other hand, the goal is, over time, to foster the deployment and take-up of next generation access networks (NGA) at 100 Mbps and above.

The Digital Agenda plan also proposes a European Spectrum Policy Programme in 2010 for decision by the European Parliament and the Council that will create a co-ordinated and strategic spectrum policy at EU level in order increase the efficiency of radio spectrum management and maximise the benefits for consumers and industry

More detail of these and other initiatives in the plan are online.http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/index_en.htmhttp://www.europa.eu