The creation of a new and stable broadband regulatory environment and updating the EU’s copyright framework are among a digital ‘to-do’ list adopted by the European Commission as new digital priorities for 2013-2014
The Commission has set out seven new priorities for the digital economy and society. According to the EC, the digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. The priorities announced by the EC follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe.
According to European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, 2013 will be the busiest year yet for the Digital Agenda. “My top priorities are to increase broadband investment and to maximise the digital sector’s contribution to Europe’s recovery,” she stated.
The Commission’s reports that full implementation of this updated Digital Agenda would increase European GDP by 5 per cent, or €1,500 per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving eSkills levels in the labour force, enabling public sector innovation, and reforming the framework conditions for the Internet economy. In terms of jobs, up to one million digital jobs risk going unfilled by 2015 without pan-European action while 1.2 million jobs could be created through infrastructure construction. This would rise to 3.8 million new jobs throughout the economy in the long term.
The new priorities are:
1. Create a new and stable broadband regulatory environment
More private investment is needed in high speed fixed and mobile broadband networks. The Commission’s top digital priority for 2013 is therefore finalising a new and stable broadband regulatory environment. A package of ten actions in 2013 will include Recommendations on stronger non-discriminatory network access and new costing methodology for wholesale access to broadband networks, net neutrality, universal service and mechanisms for reducing the civil engineering costs of broadband roll-out. This will build on new Broadband State Aid Guidelines and the proposed Connecting Europe Facility loans.
Re-thinking the Digital Agenda for Europe Report
This new WIK report, “Re-thinking the Digital Agenda for Europe,” was commissioned by Liberty Global and finds that European policymakers are paying insufficient attention to the potential of cable networks to deliver a substantial portion of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda targets, and considers available solutions to reduce the cost of full broadband deployment. It argues that a more technologically neutral approach to the Digital Agenda targets could provide benefits to consumers and to the competitive process itself. The report also:
- Quotes European Investment Bank (EIB) analysis that cable competition to incumbent telecom operators can lower high-speed broadband deployment costs by up to 30%
- Examines what the medium bandwidth expectations of consumers are Finds that cable investment spurs investment into FTTN/VDSL by telecom incumbents
- Illustrates the coverage of cable, telecoms and mobile networks and their service uptake across Europe
- Examines the technology and performance of cable networks, and their short term evolution toward symmetrical high-speed broadband services
You may download the report here.
European Forum for Spectrum Coexistence launches first White Paper on spectrum policy
As Commissioner Neelie Kroes made important announcements in Brussels at the 7th Annual European Spectrum Management Conference, Cable Europe, as a member of the European Forum for Spectrum Coexistence (EFSC), launches a white paper on spectrum, Coexistence: The Missing Element in Current Spectrum Policy.
The European Forum for Spectrum Coexistence supports the European Commission’s objectives shared by Member States to harmonize conditions regarding the availability and efficient use of the radio spectrum in the EU. This represents an important component of the wider policy initiative called the “Digital Agenda” and the first Radio Spectrum Policy Programme which was launched by Commissioner Kroes to deliver sustainable economic, social and cultural benefits from Europe’s digital single market. But without coexistence among all components of the electromagnetic ecosystem as a key tenet written into EU rules and regulations, which impact Member States and their citizens, these worthy policy objectives will struggle to become reality.
5. Do you see technology policy as a good area for Transatlantic cooperation? Why or why not?
The answer is simply yes.
The word technology can be defined in various ways, but all of them are intrinsically international. The most recent Internet technology knows no borders and cannot be contained in a nation state. I believe the recent developments in Northern Africa provide ample proof of that. Also, in terms of the more traditional technology, information and communication goods and services travel much more rapidly than some other goods. Technological developments and businesses go global immediately.
While I do not underestimate the developments in many countries, not least China, India, South Korea and Japan, I do believe that both the USA and the European Union play a leading role. The USA is known for its various billion dollar companies having grown from garages. European companies have led the way in touch screen technology and mobile communications. The European Union also boasts enormous developments in areas like eHealth, eGovernment and other ICT applications used in our every day life.
Transatlantic cooperation is not only a desire, it is a reality. Apart from the regular meetings that are organised between the European Union and the USA there are a couple of specific elements of cooperation that I wish to highlight:
Firstly, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with my American counterpart last year on cooperation in the area of eHealth.
Cable Europe’s Gregg Svingen talks to Neelie Kroes, Commissioner for Europe’s Digital Agenda in exclusive interview on cable, the net and girl power.
Entering Commissioner Kroes’ space at the European Commissions’ Headquarters in Brussels, it is hard not to notice an imposing brick sitting in the middle of her glass table.
A closer look reveals the word ‘Nee’, or Dutch for ‘No’. It’s a helpful reminder about this tech woman’s resolve in executing Europe’s Digital Agenda brick by brick (and a few clicks, too).
1. What are you doing to get more women involved in technology and more generally in business and policy making?
I am concerned that not enough women are engaged in this interesting and exciting sector. I am working with my colleagues in the European Parliament and interested Ministers to address this general skills shortage in the sector. In my view, the ICT sector must find a new gender balance if it wants to avoid underperformance. Our goal of “Every European digital” means getting European woman digital too. The issue is not new: over the years, my services have undertaken a number of activities in this area which have led me to the conclusion that we need to work together with business. We have developed a code of best practice which has over 60 signatories from multinationals, academia, SMEs and NGOs and has helped influence the way these companies attract, recruit, train and retain women in this sector. But we still need to do more to get girls into this field.