[enterprise communications] During a speech on September 22, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes outlined broadband’s future in Europe. The proposals she outlined are part of the EC’s Digital Agenda program which has a mandate to provide basic broadband to every European citizen by 2013, with download speeds of 30Mbps by 2020.
Kroes announced that today the Digital Agenda for Europe was moving from “vision to concrete action. On my initiative, the Commission has this morning agreed three complementary measures to facilitate the roll out and take up of fast and ultra-fast broadband in the EU. These measures support the Digital Agenda’s key performance targets.”
Kroes equated fast broadband to “digital oxygen, essential for Europe’s prosperity and well-being. No one doubts that Europe will be better off if we get everyone online. It is of course much harder to make tough policy choices and get the major investments needed to realize those goals.”
The package she introduced has three elements: first, a Commission Recommendation on Regulated access to Next Generation Access (NGA) that requires national telecoms regulators to ensure an appropriate balance between the needs to encourage investment and to safeguard competition. Second, a Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council for a Decision to establish a five year policy program for radio spectrum that would in particular ensure that sufficient spectrum is made available for wireless broadband. And last, a Communication on how best to increase private and public investment in broadband networks.
Kroes also noted that Europe needs both investment incentives and competition to get these high speed and modern networks rolled-out. “Only a mix of the two will concentrate the resources and the energy needed for these investments and competitive broadband services.”
The Commissioner concluded on an impassioned note, saying, “I cannot sit by and allow our businesses to continue to compete against Asian businesses with internet 100 times faster than our own. I cannot sit by and watch our broadband advantage disappear through complacency. So today’s measures should send a loud and clear signal to European businesses and citizens. These measures will help to ensure that Europeans get the first-class internet they expect and deserve, so that they can access the content and services they want. These measures will help our economy realize smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The future is digital and we all need to work together to invest in competitive broadband networks and other projects that will let us tap into that digital potential.”
Fast Broadband Vital to Europe’s Future