Brussels – The European Commission announced its five-year “Digital Agenda” plan for telecommunications and IT in Europe today. The plan aims to move towards a more unified European digital market through measures designed to boost high-speed broadband deployment, promote open standards and interoperability, increase online security and enhance digital literacy. The digital agenda comes on the heels of Mario Monti’s report on the future of the European single market.

The following comments can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association Vice President Erika Mann, who served as a member of the European Parliament until 2009 and worked on IP issues. She now directs CCIA’s new Brussels office:

“We applaud the plan’s commitment to moving towards a more unified digital market. Because the Internet itself knows no borders, it is important that Europe remove arbitrary borders that impede the growth of its digital economy. It is good to see Commissioner Kroes included measures designed to encourage greater access to high-speed Internet connections. We encourage European policy makers to follow through on these commitments and come up with more detailed plans to advance a single European digital marketplace.

“The plan’s commitment to balanced copyright policy should also be lauded. Steps to simplify copyright clearance and licensing and a commitment to solve the orphan works problem are much needed in today’s knowledge-based economy. It is important to balance the needs of intellectual property protection with free speech and competition to promote economic growth.

“Perhaps the best part of the digital agenda is its commitment to open standards and interoperability through an improved ICT standard-setting framework and a government procurement regime that encourages openness and transparency. As more government functions go online and more citizens and small businesses use these eGovernment features, the ability to access them through competing products, rather than specific proprietary programs, should save individuals and businesses money. We encourage European policy makers to stay true to these goals as they lay out a path to encourage competition, innovation and consumer choice.”

 

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