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Commission welcomes European Parliament support for a safer, healthier, high-tech and more Connected Continent.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 17, 2014

Commission welcomes European Parliament support for a safer, healthier, high-tech and more Connected Continent.

The Directive tackles four main problem areas:

•. No Expensive duplication of infrastructure by opening access to all technically suitable infrastructure belonging to utilities or telecom operators, such as ducts, conduits, manholes, cabinets, poles, masts, antennae installations, towers and other supporting constructions, to operators who invest to provide high-speed broadband to the public.

From now on, telecom operators will have to build less new poles and ducts before bringing their fibre to remote areas and less new towers for their antennas. They will be able to reuse infrastructure of the utilities, or of other operators at a fair price. This means cheaper and faster deployment.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Lithuania, such measures made many NGA deployments economically viable, leading to some of the highest NGA coverage in Europe. Even citizens living in remote, rural areas will have next generation networks reaching them easier, sooner, ensuring access to a wide range of smart services.

•. Better coordination of civil works by cutting all barriers to coordination of civil works and setting minimum obligations for efficient work planning.

No more digging up the road every few months. Telecom companies will know in advance the planning of the civil works and will be able to join in, share the cost and deploy their network. This means less hassle for citizens, through less public works, in short Less digging – more broadband.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Malta the National Roads Authority informs all the utility companies about trenching works planned by other utility companies intending to install underground infrastructure in order to allow coordination between themselves. When works are carried out on the strategic road network, coordination is even more extensive so as to minimise their financial impact and traffic disruption.

•. Easier and faster procedures by imposing transparency of permit granting procedures, which must be completed within 4 months, unless national law provides otherwise. Any rejection of the permit will have to be justified objectively.

What national best practice inspired the Directive? Legislation in the Netherlands has made deployment more straightforward and has reduced administrative burdens. This is likely to be a strong contributory factor to the enhanced coverage seen in the Netherlands today.

• Upgrading old and inaccessible in-building infrastructure by mandating the equipment of new buildings & major renovations with high-speed infrastructure and organising access to it.
What national best practice inspired the Directive? In Portugal, all new buildings as well as renovated buildings must incorporate fibre. In Spain constructors of new and renovated multi-dwelling buildings must connect each apartment to a central point. This allows easier access to an NGA network.
This new legislation will help delivering EU goals: by 2020, all European citizens and businesses should have access to the Internet at a speed of at least 30 Mbps and at least 50% of European households should subscribe to Internet connections above 100 Mbps.

The Commission made a legislative proposal in March 2013 after the call of the Heads of State and Government of the 27 EU member states to: “complete the Digital Single Market by 2015 … including by reducing the cost of high-speed broadband infrastructure”.

Research to help Europe’s ageing population demographic change. MEPs showed support for the €175 million Active and Assisted Living (AAL) programme (2014 – 2020) which will address the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population through new ICT-based products and services. Research will be focus around 6 themes: medication adherence, fall prevention, frailty and malnutrition, integrated care, independent living and age-friendly environments.
European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroes said: “The new AAL Programme will be closer to the market and will ensure that the results respond to actual user needs. It will have SME partners and greater user-involvement in each phase of each project. ALL will help having real products for the real needs.”
European leadership in Electronic Components and Systems

The EP also voted on a new a public-private partnership ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership). ECSEL will lead to a Europe-wide research and development programme in the fields of nanoelectronics, smart and embedded systems with an incentive for industry, Member States and the European Union. It is to provide a major opportunity to cooperate across Europe and leverage investments in this field. The EU contribution to the ECSEL JU will be of €1,185 billion.

European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroes said: “ECSEL Joint Undertaking is to provide a major opportunity to cooperate across Europe and leverage investments in the field. I welcome the strong emphasis on creating a Europe-wide research and innovation programme with an incentive for industry, Member States and the European Union.”

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Ensure open access for internet service suppliers and ban roaming fees. European Parliament.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 5, 2014

Ensure open access for internet service suppliers and ban roaming fees. European Parliament.

Internet access providers would be barred from blocking or slowing down selected services for economic or other reasons by the latest draft EU “telecoms package” legislation voted by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs also voted to ban “roaming” charges for using a mobile phone in another EU country, as of from 15 December 2015.

“Today’s vote is a great step towards strengthening the telecommunications single market. Parliament wants to abolish retail roaming charges for voice, SMS and data by 15 December 2015 and improve radio spectrum management to develop 4G and 5G throughout Europe”, said rapporteur Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP, ES).

“We have achieved further guarantees to maintain the openness of the Internet by ensuring that users can run and provide applications and services of their choice as well as reinforcing the Internet as a key driver of competitiveness, economic growth, jobs, social development and innovation”, she added. Ms del Castillo’s report was approved by 534 votes to 25, with 58 abstentions.

Equal internet access for service suppliers

MEPs want clear rules to prevent internet access providers from promoting some services at the expense of others. EU telecoms regulator BEREC reported that several internet access providers were blocking or slowing down services like “Skype”, which is used to make phone calls over the internet.

Internet access providers would still be able to offer specialized services of higher quality, such as video on demand and business-critical data-intensive “cloud” (data storage) applications, so long as these services are not supplied to “the detriment of the availability or quality of internet access services” offered to other companies or service suppliers.

MEPs shortened the European Commission’s list of “exceptional” cases in which internet access providers could still be entitled to block or slow down the internet. MEPs say these practices should be permitted only to enforce a court order, preserve network security or prevent temporary network congestion. If such “traffic management measures” are used, they must be “transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate” and “not be maintained longer than necessary”, they add.

MEPs underline that internet access should be provided in accordance with the principle of “net neutrality”, which means that all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application.

MEPs also amended the text to ban “roaming” charges (extra fees for using a mobile phone to call, send text messages or access the internet in another EU country) anywhere in the EU as of 15 December 2015. If roaming services are abused, however, capped charges could exceptionally be imposed, MEPs say.

The European Parliament voted on its first reading of the draft legislation, in order to consolidate the work done so far and hand it over to the next Parliament. This ensures that the MEPs newly elected in May can build on work done during the current term.

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