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European Commission's Digital Agenda calls for speedier broadband

The European Commission unveiled its ambitious Digital Agenda for Europe action plan aimed at “spreading the benefits of the digital era to all sections of society”

Digital Agenda outlines seven priority areas for action: creating a digital Single Market, greater interoperability, boosting internet trust and security, much faster internet access, more investment in research and development, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and applying information and communications technologies to address challenges facing society like climate change and the ageing population.

Of note here is the call for improving ICT standard-setting and interoperability, enhancing trust and security, and especially increasing access to fast and ultra-fast internet. Here, the 2020 target is to provide internet speeds of 30 Mbps or above for all European citizens, with half European households subscribing to connections of 100Mbps or higher.

Today, the Commission notes, only 1% of Europeans have a fast fibre-based internet connection, compared to 12% of Japanese and 15% of South Koreans (see table below). The Commission will
explore “how to attract investment in broadband through credit enhancement mechanisms and will give guidance on how to encourage investments in fibre-based networks.”

While over half of Europeans (250 million) use the internet every day, the report laments that another 30% have never used it. "We must put the interests of Europe's citizens and businesses at the forefront of the digital revolution and so maximise the potential of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to advance job creation, sustainability and social inclusion", said Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.

Digital Agenda for Europe is the first of seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Story filed 06.06.10

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