Europe's 'Digital Oxygen'

11:10 AM -- As expected, the European Commission has published a recommendation concerning competitive access to "next-generation access networks," which basically means any access network that's taking fiber close to the end user, whether to the curb or all the way to the building/home. (See EC Sets Digital Agenda and Euronews: Sept. 14.)

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

t.bogataj 12/5/2012 | 4:23:02 PM
re: Europe's 'Digital Oxygen'

"We can only wish Kroes the best of luck."

Ray, this has nothing to do with luck. Mrs. Kroes can be trusted to put all of her determination into pursuing the goal. Just look at what she did to Microsoft!


digits 12/5/2012 | 4:23:01 PM
re: Europe's 'Digital Oxygen'

OK, I absolutely take your point - nothing that is achieved here will be down to luck.

Maybe I should have said that I wish  her well.

Like her predecessor, Kroes is a formidable Commissioner who seems to relish a challenge and who loves to win -- she will need all her fighting attributes, I think, to beat off the rampant opposition and spoiling tactics she will encounter. 

I think it is worth noting that Kroes has European citizens' best interests at heart, while the industrial powers she has to contend with have their shareholders and bonus packages at heart. A tough battle.

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