Europe's 'Digital Oxygen'
It's all part of the plan formulated by Commissioner Neelie Kroes to "ensure that Europeans get the first-class internet they expect and deserve... fast broadband is digital oxygen," she proclaims in a prepared statement. (Ed note: Sounds like she's been listening to too much 1970s glam rock to me.)
And she has very specific aims: Her Digital Agenda involves ensuring that "every European [has] access to basic broadband by 2013 and fast and ultra-fast broadband by 2020."
But Kroes is doing more than just making sure high-speed fiber access networks aren't afforded regulatory holidays. She also recognizes the role that wireless technologies will play in Europe, and has come up with a proposal for a "five-year policy programme to promote efficient radio spectrum management and, in particular, ensuring that sufficient spectrum is made available by 2013 for wireless broadband." You have to admire her optimism: 2013 might seem like a long way off, but it's the blink of an eye in the world of spectrum decision-making.
And to back up these two measures, Kroes has drawn up a "Broadband Communication" that calls on the European Union's member states to "introduce operational broadband plans for high and ultra high speed networks with concrete implementing measures." The "Communication" even includes advice on how source EU funds and how to cut investment costs.
We can only wish Kroes the best of luck. If she can achieve her aims she'll help make Europe truly competitive in the global economy. But she has her work cut out.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading