European Commission stresses greater investment in telecoms

The annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard has seen the European Union in pragmatic mood, with the EU stating that while there is a demand for digital expanse, the operation is being undercut by inadequate investment.

Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, said that Europe was “shooting itself in the foot” because of underfunding and stressed more money be put in to telecommunications infrastructure.

Kroes said: “Europeans are hungry for digital technologies and more digital choices, but governments and industry are not keeping up with them.

“This attachment to 20th century policy mindsets and business models is hurting Europe’s economy. It’s a terrible shame,” she added.

Specifically, the Commission blamed a failure to support fast internet and online content is at the root of the problem which will see Europe “flattened by its global competitors”, according to Kroes.

The Commission did not hold back concerning their continued war with big TELCOs and roaming charges, claiming that TELCOs “continue to rip off consumers with mobile roaming prices”.

The report notes that, on average, consumers pay three and a half times the national rate for roaming calls.

However there were positives to be taken out of the annual scoreboard; the most prominent regarding mobile broadband connection, which has gone up 62% over the past year to 217m mobile subscriptions.

This is borne out in the variety of bandwidths utilised by various countries. The report notes that seven EU member states – Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Greece, Malta, Spain and Portugal – had opened up the 900 to 1800 MHz bands to support consumers’ mobile demand.

So is the European Commission correct to be pragmatic? Are the TELCOs flagrantly disobeying the EU or do the roaming charges need to take more time to settle down?

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