EU unveils 'digital agenda' to increase use of Web

May 19, 2010 By ROBERT WIELAARD , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The European Commission unveiled plans Wednesday to greatly increase the number of Europeans using public and commercial services online over the next decade.

Neelie Kroes, the EU commissioner for digital affairs, said 30 percent of Europeans have never used the Internet.

Beyond that, there are four times as many in the U.S than in Europe, and only 1 percent of Europeans have access to fiber-based high-speed networks, she said, compared to 12 percent in Japan and 15 percent of South Koreans.

And Europe lags behind its main competitors in developing cutting edge technologies, she said.

The reasons, Kroes told a news conference, are weak investments - EU spending is 40 percent of that of the US - and national borders that "hamper access to pan-European telecoms services, digital services and content."

To catch up, she said, EU governments must double their annual spending on research and development to euro11 billion by 2020.

Kroes' "Digital Agenda" includes steps to improve information technology standards and compatibility, eliminate regulatory barriers, encourage electronic payments and simplify digital copyright management and licensing.

Kroes said the will put forward a raft of measures - including 31 EU laws - over the next 2-3 years to get more Europeans online by 2020. She outlined these goals:

- Broadband coverage for all EU citizens by 2013.

- By 2015, 50 percent of Europeans shopping and using public services online.

- By 2020, broadband coverage at 30 megabytes per second and more for at least half EU households.

Kroes said Europeans are unlikely to go online more unless they feel safe. That means EU governments must tackle "the rise of 'cybercrime,' ranging from child abuse to identity theft," she said.

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

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU: breakthrough on online music rights

Oct 21, 2009

(AP) -- The EU's top antitrust official on Wednesday described a deal among Apple Inc.'s iTunes, music companies, distributors and online licensing groups as a "great breakthrough" that would roll out more Internet music ...

EU presses for broadband's way forward

Mar 22, 2006

Great as the World Wide Web may be as a source of entertainment and information, it's not enough for people to go online. Rather, Internet access is only truly useful with a broadband connection rather than by dialup, and ...

EU reveals probe into Oracle's bid

Sep 03, 2009

Business software giant Oracle's 7.4-billion-dollar bid for Sun Microsystems is under investigation under EU merger regulations, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Alibaba mega IPO caps founder Jack Ma success tale

23 minutes ago

When Jack Ma founded Alibaba 15 years ago he insisted the e-commerce venture should see itself as competing against Silicon Valley, not other Chinese companies. That bold ambition from a time when China was ...

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

26 minutes ago

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

User comments : 0