The European Commission published last week its annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), ranking EU countries according to their performance in areas such as connectivity, digital skills, use of the internet by citizens, the digitisation of businesses, and digital public services. The UK moved from 6th place to 7th this year behind Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Although the UK progressed well in terms of coverage and take-up of superfast broadband connections, other countries have moved faster, encouraging their citizens and businesses to use internet services made available to them.
The European Commission published yesterday its proposals to achieve its vision for a European Gigabit society with ambitious targets from 5G coverage to access for all European households (rural and urban) to internet speeds of 100Mbit/s by 2025. Legislative and policy proposals include a review of the EU regulatory framework for telecoms, an Action Plan on 5G connectivity and new financial instruments as well as additional public funding for a WiFi voucher scheme that will benefit 6000 to 8000 local communities in the EU by 2020.
The European Commission today announced that they were blocking the proposed takeover of O2 by Hutchinson (Three’s parent company) due to the strong concerns that it has over the impact that this merger would have on competition in the UK market.
The European Parliament published this week a briefing referencing the difficulties in revising the EU Universal Service Directive, which sets the criteria for a universal service obligation in the telecoms sector. As part of its review of the EU Telecoms Regulatory Framework, the European Commission is considering extending the scope of the Directive to include broadband. However, the briefing makes clear that setting EU-wide conditions for the introduction of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband is not without challenges.
Analysys Mason today published a report comparing the UK’s fixed telecoms market to the five major European countries and several other leading digital countries. It found that the UK is currently ahead of its European competitors on measures such as average speed*, superfast broadband coverage and take-up and will soon be outperforming countries such as Japan and the USA.
Yesterday the European Commission unveiled their proposals on the Digital Single Market, one of President Jean-Claude Juncker’s top 5 priorities.
Their primary goal is to create a market where “individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence???.
Ahead of the roll-out of the EU Digital Single Market strategy in May, the European Commission published last week the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The UK is amongst the top digital performers ranking 6 out of the EU28 behind Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium. Lowest digital performers include Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.
Last week the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) welcomed the opportunity to submit our response to the European Commission Green Paper ‘Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values’. (more…)
Last week Commissioner Neelie Kroes announced the European Commission adoption of a series of new regulatory proposals in this memo on ‘The Connected Continent’. It’s been met with a mixed reaction from the UK. At the Broadband Stakeholder Group we will be continuing to keep a close eye and engage with these developments, and we’ve put together a quick overview of the main areas the memo addresses below: (more…)
Despite the setbacks faced by the Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month with the significant cut to the Connecting Europe Facility, there is still significant political will to push through the vision of the Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe. Wednesday’s announcement of a series of regulations aimed at ‘burning red tape’ in high-speed broadband roll out across Europe can be seen very much as part of that will in a way which has no direct implications for the EU Budget. (more…)
Last Friday saw the conclusion of EU budget negotiations, and as a result the proposed Connecting Europe Facility budget was reduced from €9.2bn to €1bn.
Our CEO, Pamela Learmonth, has responded to this announcement commenting:
“Broadband connectivity is vital to Europe’s future, and in tough economic times the ongoing challenge is to make the best use of resources. The reduction in proposed budget may initially provoke disappointment from some but the EU budget of EUR 1 billion is still a new investment in support of digital services and must also be seen as part of a larger sum of funding across European member states. (more…)