EU digital agenda
EU telecom ministers have agreed to support the EU Digital Agenda, the first of seven flagship initiatives under the EU 2020 strategy.
Presented by the European Commission in May, the plan will shape and dominate regulation and funding in the area of ICT and Information Society for the next five years. The plan aims to complete a single market for digital products and services, improve ICT standard-setting and interoperability, enhance trust and security in digital products and services, increase Europeans’ access to fast and ultra fast internet, boost research and innovation in ICT, empower all Europeans with digital skills and accessible online services, and unleash the potential of ICT to benefit society, for example by improving energy efficiency and advancing in eGovernment.
Along these thematic priorities, the plan includes a number of quantifiable targets:
• Ultra-fast broadband by 2020: 50% of European households
with subscriptions above 100Mbps;
• Promoting eCommerce: 50% of the population buying online by 2015;
• Cross-border eCommerce: 20% of the population buying across borders online by 2015;
• Single market for telecoms services: roaming and national tariffs at zero difference by 2015;
• ICT R&D increase: Doubling public investment to €11 billion.
A number of points will affect cities indirectly and directly. For instance, in eGovernment, the Commission is implementing a new framework on services interoperability. Also, the use of structural funds and other EU programmes to fund Broadband deployment. The Commission will as well propose digital literay as a priority for the European Social Fund regulation (2014-2020). Furthermore, the text calls on the ICT industry to collaborate with cities in developing tools to evaluate urban energy efficieny.
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