The European Commission on Thursday ordered 21 EU states to get their act together and meet a deadline to install a pan-European mobile satellite network under its broadband-for-all drive.
Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes, a veteran of countless battles with telecoms providers over high roaming charges within the European Union single market, issued "an urgent call" to the 21 to "remove remaining legal uncertainties," a statement said.
The countries targeted are Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Legal obstacles preventing two companies already selected by Brussels to develop the EU system centre on licence fees, the statement said.
The EU agreed in 2008 that pan-EU deployment of mobile satellite services should be in place by May 2011 at the latest for high-speed Internet, mobile television and radio or emergency communications to EU consumers and businesses.
The satellite network is also seen as key to ensuring innovative communications services reach rural and remote areas.
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