EU pushes button for next Internet age

May 03, 2011
EU commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes in 2010. Europe geared up on Tuesday for a quantum leap in Internet traffic and a new generation of infrastructure to carry data, announcing the launch of a 600-million-euro research and investment programme.

Europe geared up on Tuesday for a quantum leap in Internet traffic and a new generation of infrastructure to carry data, announcing the launch of a 600-million-euro research and investment programme.

The EU's record in major high-tech spheres has been questionable, beginning with a much-delayed and massively over-budget 5.4-billion-euro Galileo satellite navigation system, aimed at rivalling the US-built Global Positioning System (GPS) and Chinese and Russian projects.

The European Union is also part funding the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 3.9-billion-euro ($5.2-billion) nuclear physics experiment inside a 27-kilometre (16.8-mile) Swiss mountain tunnel aimed at unlocking some of the universe's deepest secrets, which has suffered a series of failures in early years.

However, Tuesday's latest project launch, seeking a robust new architecture for a future Internet capable of handling an "exponential" increase in data, sends a more readily grasped signal to millions of citizens and organisations whose dreams of real-time interactivity on the move are slowly turning to reality.

The European Commission is investing an initial amount of 90 million euros in the first phase of a five-year public-private partnership, matched by funding from private organisations across the EU.

"The Internet economy will be growing to 5.8 percent of GDP, or almost 800 billion euros, by 2014. But we are only at the beginning of the Internet era," said Neelie Kroes, the commissioner responsible for the EU's digital agenda.

Internet data traffic is growing by 60 percent a year, the commission says, and the project is designed to boost innovation and develop Internet solutions "capable of managing the exponential increase in (mobile) online data."

By 2016, the commission has promised a 300-million-euro investment, matched by the private sector, with Kroes equally concerned by a desire to "safeguard European values like privacy, openness and diversity."

Initial projects being funded include Internet tools for things like electricity management at community level -- new governments invariably find vast differences in billing across departments -- ahead of a large-scale trial.

"Social networking sites connect over a billion people worldwide and even help people to overthrow autocratic and corrupt regimes," Kroes said in her launch speech as 158 partner organisations came together in Brussels from 23 states.

"We are heading for a world that is much smarter. Where information generated by people and our environments can be used productively in real time."

She said the collection of environmental data for weather forecasting would in future also feed into "personal health information systems, or traffic management or agriculture."

"This gap in capacity and capabilities is waiting to be filled," she said, urging backers to "grab this opportunity" to accelerate economic growth and steal a march on global rivals.

A veteran of EU action to drive down mobile phone bills for consumers, Kroes' digital agenda has previously seen her bid to extend mobile Internet access to Europe's farthest flung outposts by opening up commercial rights to the old analog broadcasting spectrum.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

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ttreker
4.3 / 5 (6) May 03, 2011
The opening paragraph of this post represents lazy journalism. To use the setbacks of the LHC on its initial startup as an example supporting the argument that the EU's forays into high tech projects have a questionable record at success is just absolutely absurd. The LHC is arguably the most complex instrument ever built by man. It has as much to do with the US as with the EU. It's a project funded by the West, not just the EU.

Journalist that write posts on this generally high quality blog who write with such lazy and trite prose, should be given one chance to get it right and then dropped from blog. They sully Physorg.com's reputation.
PsiStar
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2011
This is the first that I have heard that the US is providing funding for the LHC. Can you provide specific references with dates and amounts?
DoubleD
3.7 / 5 (3) May 03, 2011
While it is true that the USA is not part of CERN, they are part of the LHC team. A 10 second google search, cut and paste answers your question. Next time try it yourself.

The US at the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland will open new vistas on the deepest secrets of the universe, stretching the imagination with newly discovered forms of matter, forces of nature, and dimensions of space. This site provides general information about the Large Hadron Collider and detailed information about American participation in the LHC accelerator and experiments. U.S. LHC participation is supported by the US Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.
Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet May 03, 2011
By comparison, AT&T is apparntly going to start putting a "cap" on their internet traffic. Not sure how that's going to work, but it seems if you are browsing or downloading too much, they are simply going to cut you off or something like that, or just force you to wait longer for a download/upload, even if the modem and connection speed is allegedly higher...

You'll probably be forced to pay for a "premium" account to get full access. Go figure.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet May 03, 2011
By comparison, AT&T is apparntly going to start putting a "cap" on their internet traffic. Not sure how that's going to work, but it seems if you are browsing or downloading too much, they are simply going to cut you off or something like that, or just force you to wait longer for a download/upload, even if the modem and connection speed is allegedly higher...

You'll probably be forced to pay for a "premium" account to get full access. Go figure.
AT&T says a lot of things. Years ago a company who now owns AT&T said in a TV commericial: "This talk about people becoming robots - is a dead issue. People who talk about us becoming robots - don't trust them. We at ***** have a better idea." Maybe this is the better idea they were talking about years ago?
CyberRat
not rated yet May 04, 2011
Again, job creation from tax money, internet will become faster even without this kind of money abuse.